Early-bird review calls up the dragon
One controvery this week has greatly excited film critics. When attending early press screenings, reviewers are often asked to sign a document that forbids them from publishing reviews until the week of release. Last week David Denby, longtime critic for The New Yorker magazine, decided to ignore an embargo and, three weeks before the film emerges, filed his notice for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.
Despite the review being largely positive, producer Scott Rudin reacted with something like naked fury. “I could not in good conscience invite you to see another movie of mine again,” Rudin told Denby.
Meanwhile, in the Oldworld, Daily Mail film critic Chris Tookey posted a rave review of Steven Spielberg’s War Horse several week’s ahead of its embargo date. We are not aware of Mr Tookey being ejected from the building.
Contrasting approaches to such dictates have applied on either side of the Atlantic. Americans, more in thrall to authority, tend to play by the rules. In the UK, the more prominent newspapers (we’ll name no names) have often, assuming they are too big to ban, run reviews ahead of supposed deadlines.
Writing on Twitter, critic Kim Newman commented: “It’ll be tough going to screenings knowing Chris Tookey’s been banned for embargo-breaking, but I guess we’ll soldier on.” We smell irony.
That way lies danger for blabby critics: Christopher Plummer and Daniel Craig in the embargo-busted Girl with the Dragon Tattoo