New York Film Critics Circle patron David Denby’s decision to break his promise to respect the embargo agreed upon by the NYFCC and Sony pictures has sent enormous tremors in the film world as of late. The conditions of this agreement were that Sony would give the NYFCC an exclusive
sneak preview of David Fincher’s American remake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (slated to come out in wide release Dec 21st), and in return the members of the NYFCC would hold off on publishing any reviews of the film until its actual release date.
Well Denby decided to be a badass, and published a full blown review in this week’s issue of The New Yorker, causing an uproar from both Sony and the film’s producer Scott Rudin. Although Sony sent out a rash of emails begging other reviewers not to follow the same path as Denby, it was Rudin who took this occasion to personally address the issue with Denby over a series of jarring emails.
After hearing both sides of the story (or at least the parts that were released to the public) its very tough to point the finger at who is really wrong here: Denby for bold face lying about his intentions and not honoring his word, or Rudin for contributing to the ‘holiday jam up’ of films that seem to be pissing many people off (Denby sites as one of his primary reasons for breaking the embargo).
I think both parties are acting like big babies, Denby for not only lying, but for blaming his actions on the ‘holiday jam up’ on Rudin and associates. As Rudin states in his email, what the hell does he and his production company have to do with this? Similarly, Rudin and his team are behaving like clowns and this is not only because Rudin refuses to acknowledge that Denby gave The Girl with the Dragon tattoo positive reviews, and hey there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but because he choose to grossly overlook the fact of what Denby and his brethren are: FILM CRITICS. This title is allotted to the people whose job it is to tell you what they think of your film in the most scathing way possible (the written word), a method that doesn’t dissipate like a verbal spat and is recorded for all to read, forever. Most importantly, the nature of a film critic is to be brave and speak out, regardless if their opinion is respected or not, and to say that Denby isn’t doing just that would mean that he’s not really doing his job.
I still won’t read Denby’s review though… I don’t want to ruin one of the only films I’ve been excited to see in 2011. Sad eh?