David Denby’s Dragon Tattoo Embargo Break Damages All Critics

New Yorker Film critic David Denby has long been a respected and authoritative voice in film criticism. Sadly, this week, Mr. Denby decided to forfeit his reputation by bowing to the all-consuming maw of internet ‘first-dom.’

By breaking the embargo against reviews of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, an embargo he agreed to before seeing the film as part of a screening for the New York Film Critics Circle, Mr. Denby joined the ranks of any number of internet hit whores who willingly damage the delicate relationship between studios and critics. He obviously did it for a cheap short-term gain in internet traffic.

At We Got This Covered, we have faced this type of thing before. When footage purported to be the first trailer for the upcoming film Prometheus was leaked onto the net, we jumped to join in on the commenting. However, when the studio contacted us and asked us to remove the images because they were unauthorized, we complied.

We recognize that, while it is our job to critique and report on the products of the industry, there is also an element of partnership and co-operation involved in this relationship. Mr. Denby flaunted that co-operation by going against his word, hurting all of us who have done what we can to maintain the delicate balance of editorial freedom and studio partnership.

On a more personal note; I am embarrassed for Mr. Denby. Dragging his disdain for We Bought A Zoo into his now public conversation (courtesy of The Playlist) with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo producer Scott Rudin over the embargo break, was childish and unprofessional. Indeed, why would Scott Rudin care what Mr. Denby thought of We Bought A Zoo and what could that possibly have to do with Mr. Denby’s embargo breaking review of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo?

For Mr. Denby to claim that he had to break embargo because there are too many movies opening at this time of year is the most ludicrous claim of all. Anyone who has reviewed films for any length of time is aware of the number of movies released at the end of a year.

As a member of the Broadcast Film Critics and someone who has been snowed under by year end releases for the past three years, I’ve never had a problem seeing and writing about dozens of year end movies with tremendous success. I must also wonder why this glut of year end movies has never been an issue for Mr. Denby in the past but is suddenly an issue this year.

There is no need for an answer to that last question. The reason for Mr. Denby’s sudden case of being overwhelmed is simple; the famed bastions of East coast taste-making at the New Yorker have succumbed finally to the hit-grubbing, whore-mongering maw of the modern internet business model.

What do you guys think? Agree?