Great World of Sound (2007)



Critic Consensus: The Great World Of Sound is a charming and unassuming film, thanks to breakthrough performances from Pat Healy and Kene Holiday.

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Martin answers an ad to train as a record producer, where he's excited by the prospect of signing undiscovered artists. The company, called Great World of Sound, partners shy, unassuming Martin with the gregarious Clarence and sends them on the road, visiting southern towns where the company has placed newspaper ads and turning motels into makeshift audition studios. Though an unlikely duo, they sign more acts than anyone else at the company. But when Martin takes a special interest in a young girl's "New National Anthem," putting up his own money and following her progress, he discovers that something's amiss with the enterprise. As things threaten to unravel, he's forced to weigh his nagging conscience against both his loyalty to Clarence and his own financial ruin. A playful, contemporary take on the classic American story of the confidence man, "Great World of Sound" evokes conflicted hucksters from Willy Loman and the Mayles Brothers' salesman to the seedy charmers of seventies Altman. With real-life audition footage weaved into the fictional narrative, Zobel's provocative debut explores the outer limits of our desire for celebrity, where big dreams beget bigger illusions, and fame always has its price.
R (for language)
Comedy , Drama
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Critic Reviews for Great World of Sound

All Critics (41) | Top Critics (16)

Craig Zobel's soul-crushing docudrama slums in the real rags-to-rags tragedy of the lowest rung of the music industry.

Full Review… | February 21, 2008
I.E. Weekly
Top Critic

Zobel ultimately comes down on the side of the suckers, whose need to make music -- even bad music -- gives them an unimpeachable dignity

Full Review… | January 11, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A confident, sure-handed exercise focusing on the American Dream, turned nightmare.

Full Review… | October 25, 2007
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Anyone who has enjoyed laughing at the bad singers auditioning on American Idol, consider the independent film Great World of Sound your penance.

Full Review… | October 12, 2007
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

The laughs flow.

Full Review… | October 5, 2007
New York Post
Top Critic

A quiet, clever and sometimes moving film about an unusual grifting lifestyle.

Full Review… | October 5, 2007
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Great World of Sound


The debut feature of "Compliance" director Craig Zobel is an enjoyable little indie concerning the moral dilemma of taking an unethical job in these grim economic times. Pat Healy and Kene Holliday are great as two "record producers" whose job is to sign up musicians under the false pretence that they will launch their career.

The Movie Waffler
The Movie Waffler

Super Reviewer


Not a bad flick, but I'm not convinced the story is worth telling at all, but if it is. It would take about 10-20 minutes to tell it. It seems paded. Looks like an idea Christopher Guest turned down.

Rick LeBlanc
Rick LeBlanc

All musicians and songwriters need to see this movie. It's absolutely devastating. Kudos to Craig Zobel for addressing a very real and heartbreaking attack on the arts.

Matthew Milligan
Matthew Milligan

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