The lead Holocaust contender in this year’s awards derby is more stallion than nag. When a denier levels a lawsuit against her publisher, it’s up to author and historian Deborah Lipstadt (Rachel Weisz) to prove the existence of the Holocaust. The first film in 14 years from director Mick Jackson (L.A. Story, The Bodyguard) is bolstered by a fact-based story that long ago slipped from the public consciousness, and dialogue by playwright and screenwriter David Hare (Plenty, The Reader). An evidential visit to the gas chambers by Lipstadt and her legal team packs a wallop, as does Weisz’s struggle not to fall victim to a defense team that refuses to let her testify. But it’s the ever-spellbinding Timothy Spall who will make audiences squirm. His knotty-pouted advocate for the myth of the six million displays all the seductiveness and in-built logic of a pedophile luring a kindergartner into the back seat of a Buick. With outstanding supporting work by Tom Wilkinson and Andrew Scott. (2016) — Scott Marks
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