Shame on You, David Denby: Critic Breaks Review Embargo, Producer Scott Rudin Fires Back


Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander

Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander. Denby’s review says she “cuts through scene after scene like a swift, dark blade.”

The New Yorker Magazine’s David Denby should be ashamed for publishing an early review of Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and breaking a review embargo.

Haven’t you heard yet? Denby, a member of the New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC), was invited to a special early screening of Fincher’s new release only intended for members so that the film would be eligible for the 2011 NYFCC award nominations. The members attending the screening agreed to a December 13th embargo date, postponing reviews until closer to the film’s release. Denby went back on his word, releasing his review online on December 5th. Check out the full review here.

Unleash the fury – Producer Scott Rudin and Denby have exchanged some pretty heated emails regarding Denby’s actions. Denby’s defense?

“Grown-ups are ignored for much of the year, cast out like downsized workers, and then given eight good movies all at once in the last five weeks of the year. A magazine like “The New Yorker” has to cope as best as it can with a nutty release schedule. It was not my intention to break the embargo, and I never would have done it with a negative review.”

Rudin fires back:

“The needs of the magazine cannot trump your word. The fact that the review is good is immaterial, as I suspect you know. You’ve very badly damaged the movie by doing this, and I could not in good conscience invite you to see another movie of mine again, Daldry or otherwise.

We’re with Rudin on this one. The movie industry is small and runs like a dysfunctional family Thanksgiving. Sure there are quirky personalities, people in and out of rehab, tabloid-worthy screw ups by the minute. But at the end of the day, like your family or not, everyone comes together with the basic assumptions that backstabbing, broken promises, and leaking information to the press can break a career and ruin your invite to the table for the following holiday season.

Producer Scott Rudin

Producer Scott Rudin

Rudin trusted the critics, insiders, and press involved. A verbal commitment was made. The damages done by publishing reviews early can be millions of advertising dollars down the drain when readers whose interest is peaked have to wait too long to see the film and lose interest.

Shame on New Yorker Magazine for assuming that the large volume of films coming out at the holiday season make it acceptable to space out reviews. If I had three friends getting married the same weekend, I would hate to be the friend whose name is posted outside the church three weeks before the wedding but not the day of when your guests arrive.

David Denby, you have lost my respect.