Mick Jackson’s Denial (C) doesn’t do cinematic justice to a true-life tale of an American professor who has to defend herself in British courts for defaming a Holocaust denier. Rachel Weisz isn’t quite compelling enough, a serpentine Timothy Spall isn’t given adequate on-screen time and the court proceedings seem rather perfunctory. A trip to Auschwitz death camps provides some powerful context about history, forensics and the nature of truth. The story is a bit of a less literary Inherit the Wind with few surprising flourishes. With topics of this much gravitas, it just didn’t feel like the filmmakers’ passions were fully ignited.
It’s far from vintage Francis Ford Coppola work, but there’s certainly some pep to the step in the law procedural drama The Rainmaker (B). Matt Damon is an engaging lead, and Coppola plumbs family dynamics and back story to excellent effect. The film is also notable for a solid supporting cast including Danny DeVito, John Voight, Danny Glover and Dean Stockwell. Along with The Client and A Time to Kill, this is one of the three best John Grisham adaptations.