Denial, the forthcoming film portrayal of the 2000 libel action David Irving v Penguin Books and Deborah Lipstadt, breaks new ground for Hollywood. Not only does it portray an English judge presiding over a trial without the aid of a gavel, it also explains the difference between barristers and solicitors.
Cliche doesn’t go completely out of the window, however. Andrew Scott plays Anthony Julius of Mishcon de Reya as a diffident Hugh Grant-ish figure while Tom Wilkinson is a hard-drinking and smoking acerbic Richard Rampton QC. And of course London is permanently tipping down with rain while English lawyers breakfast on black pudding and lunch on vintage claret in the office.
Viewers familiar with the case will enjoy spotting omissions and minor errors - co-defendant Penguin doesn’t get a mention, the AV set-up in the Royal Courts of Justice is implausibly efficient and the Fleet Street Press cafe wasn’t there in 2000 (and doesn’t serve fry-ups).
For all that, Obiter can’t rate the film highly enough for office outings – not least because it includes the heroine’s non-ironic line: ‘My god, I have good lawyers!’
Denial opens in cinemas on 27 January.