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The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

He's not selling out, he's buying in. 

Year: 2011 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Morgan Spurlock 
Starring: Morgan Spurlock, J.J. Abrams, Peter Berg, Paul Brennan  
An image from The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

Back in 2004, Morgan Spurlock proved the power of documentary – and his commendable McDonalds tolerance – with Super Size Me, one of the freshest, funniest and most alarming documentaries of modern times, in which he took on the mighty fast food industry, and succeeded.

His achievement in Super Size Me alone was no small feat, and this year he has returned with yet another bone to pick, this time with the advertising industry, and product placement in particular.

The twist this time is that The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is a film funded entirely by product placement. The film follows Spurlock’s attempts to pitch his movie to the head honchos of several product-promotion companies, and acts as both a test to see if making an entire film on the back of advertising funds, and as a biting deconstruction of the commercial industries.

As made apparent in his previous feature-length documentaries, Spurlock is thoroughly enjoyable company in a style of film which most wouldn’t associate with the word ‘charismatic’. His sheer enthusiasm and cheerful everyman charm in the face of some hefty advertising companies is both daring and hilarious at once, and pulls the viewer into the cynical, competitive world of product placement.

There’s a moment in the film when Spurlock asks an honest question: “Where should I be able to go where I don’t see one bit of advertising?” The answer is “to sleep”, and crazily enough, this isn’t really an exaggeration.

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold may not surpass Super Size Me in terms of appeal or merit, but it is certainly just as fun, daring and enjoyable a swipe at consumer culture as Spurlock’s debut, and is certainly one of the most thought-provoking films of 2011.

Michael Perry

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Screenings of this film:

2011/2012 Spring Term (35mm)