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72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 13 Critics What's this?

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7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 5 Ratings

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  • Summary: Martin responds to an ad in the paper for a company called Great World of Sound that's setting up shop in a generic office park. After his interview, he's invited to attend a Saturday seminar, explaining what the job entails. There he meets larger-than-life Clarence, and the two hit it off right away. At the seminar, an articulate but somewhat slimy man named Shank explains that the seminar participants have been selected out of a field of 80 applicants to be A&R executives for GWS, seeking out new, untapped musical talent. GWS will put out a record for these artists--all it asks for is a financial commitment from them upfront to show that they're serious, in addition to allaying the costs of studio recording time and marketing. After all, GWS is an independent record company working on a budget. Shank and his cohort go on to talk about how much money the producers stand to make. Then, as if to prove it, Shank dials into his bank account to let the room hear his $13,000-plus balance. Martin is suspicious, but Clarence believes that this is a whole new way of looking at the world, and if they sign someone that hits it big, they'll hit it big with them. Martin, who likes the idea of helping new artists, agrees to sign on with GWS. Clarence and Martin soon prove to be among the best of the GWS crew. But as the veneer falls away from GWS, Clarence and Martin have no choice but to reconcile the excitement and escape that their new jobs have provided them with reality. Have they become scam artists? Or are they victims of the scam themselves? (Magnolia Pictures) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 13
  2. Negative: 0 out of 13
  1. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    100
    The result is a beguiling and often poignant pageant of outsider musicians, but the broken heart of this extraordinary film comes directly from Zobel's own personal experience.
  2. A terrific, small, funny, sad movie.
  3. 83
    Great World Of Sound is painfully specific about the music-scouting grind.
  4. Enthusiastically received at Sundance, "Great World" is an intriguing look at our obsession with being successful and famous.
  5. 70
    Morally ambiguous, subtly crafted, resolutely free of cliché and made with almost no money, The Great World of Sound is under-the-radar independent filmmaking in the Jarmusch-Cassavetes mode, both noble and ruthless in spirit.
  6. Reviewed by: Tim Grierson
    70
    A fitting 21st-century addition to the genre. The film's meager plotting and casual melancholy peg it as a modest indie, but these ingredients dovetail nicely with Zobel's bigger theme about the futility of the modern world.
  7. Difficult to watch, and the film is sabotaged by an impossibly naive lead character and the repetitive auditions that become gratuitously depressing.

See all 13 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. MattW.
    Sep 14, 2007
    10
    What a wonderful film. A little light on story, but overflowing with intriguing characters. The performances of the two leads are top-notch and truly engaging. Expand
  2. ChadS.
    Feb 8, 2008
    6
    Be the mafia the next time your friend/relative sings for you, looks at you, and asks you that fateful question, "So what do you think?" Tell the truth. Don't let them chase a pipe dream. Believe me, it's better to be shot in the heart by a loved one than to receive some indifferent headshot from a complete stranger. Die in privacy; it's less humiliating. In "Great World of Sound", hopeless musical act after hopeless musical act of varying badness perform for two arts-and-repetoire men, who scam these starry-eyed performers with "oblivious" written all over their painfully earnest faces, because they were never told the truth. Gauging if Clarence(Kene Holliday) and Martin(Pat Healy) knew that their employers were con artists when they came aboard is open for debate, since these two men are newbies to the industry. In private, neither man ever questions the commercial viability of these musical acts. At what point does Clarence and Martin understand that their standard business practice for signing up "talent" is unscrupulous and unsound? They eventually do have an open dialogue about their dirty little secret(everybody sucks!), but exactly how long was this mutual admission in the making? Conditioned, we are, as an "American Idol"-nation, to laugh at poor singers and naive musicians, "Great World of Sound" will disappoint those expecting William Hung knockoffs, or a schizophrenic guitarist like the immortal Wesley Willis, because these auditioners perform without a trace of comic affectation. You won't laugh. You'll cringe. These are acts that even Danny Rose wouldn't touch. Expand

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