An intense, claustrophobic love triangle in London’s Orthodox Jewish community as Ronit (Rachel Weisz – The Constant Gardener, The Lobster) returns from a self-imposed New York exile on the death of her rabbi father.
Ronit left the close-knit community under a cloud – and finds herself once more deeply attracted to best friend from school, Esti (Rachel McAdams – Spotlight, Sherlock Holmes). Only Esti is married to the new rabbi-elect, Alessandro Nivola (Selma, American Hustle).
An emotionally honest and authentic drama, director Sebastian Lelio (A Fantastic Woman, Gloria) allows the dialogue and nuanced performances from the three leads to question love, faith, friendship and desire.
Misunderstood innocent or scheming gold-digger? Roger Michell (Notting Hill, Changing Lanes) largely keeps you guessing about cousin Rachel (a superb Rachel Weisz – The Constant Gardener, Denial).
Intense close-ups, occasional tears, grubby manor houses, surly (and scruffy) servants all add to the uncertainties of Phillip (a doe-eyed Sam Claflin – The Hunger Games, Me Before You) for her role in the death of his guardian. Infatuation replaces revenge.
It’s a gorgeous potboiler (author Daphne du Maurier was one of Hitchcock’s favourites – that should give you a clue) with one caveat – the truly awful soundtrack that is at times cloyingly sweet and generally infuriatingly intrusive.
Solid performances from Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener, The Mummy) and Timothy Spall (Turner, Harry Potter) and a script by pre-eminent British playwright David Hare make Denial a worthy but wordy treatment of a true court case.
Historian and renowned denier David Irving sues American academic Deborah E Lipstadt for libel – and by doing so forces her to prove that the Holocaust took place.
Director Mick Jackson (The Bodyguard, Volcano), with somewhat pedestrian treatment, deflates what was incendiary headlines in the UK (and the rest of the world) back in 1996.