Exit Through The Gift Shop (2010)

Yeah, I was faced with that terrible thing, when somebody shows you their work and everything about it is shit… so… you don’t really know where to start.

Banksy

I  heard about this documentary, Exit Through the Gift Shop over the summer from some of my LAMB comrades and they seem to love it. I am a very artistic person and this movie is about the fine line between art and graffiti. I was glad that the movie was being shown on Hulu. I was intrigued by it.

Narrated by actor Rhys Ifans, this story was originally focused on the street art movement of the last nineties. An amateur filmmaker named Thierry Guetta filmed everything around him with his video camera. He taped anything and everything that was around. One day, he stumbled into this underground world of street art where Thierry was introduced to such characters as Space Invader, Zeus, André and  his cousin, Shepard Fairey (the one that made the Obama “Hope” posters) who was one of a few people who allowed their faces to not be obscured in the film.

Thierry documented the adventures he and his cousin went on when they scaled walls and climb on top of buildings. It wasn’t until the world got a taste of a mysterious ballsy street artist named Banksy who showed his subversive take on pop culture and turning art on its head. Banksy singlehandedly thrust street art into the mainstream.

Thierry made it his goal that he would befriend the elusive Banksy and follow his process. Fate crosses paths when Shepard asked Thierry to show Banksy around the prime locations in LA to display his art. Banky came to trust Thierry and let him in his world. The tables turn when Banksy wanted a lot of Thierry than he realized than to just tape him. He wanted Thierry to experience what he does every time he puts his art up; invading the police, watching his back for angry landlords, etc.

 There is a debate about the merits of this movie whether it is a hoax. Personally, I don’t know if Banky and Mr. Brainwash are the same person. Who knows if Thierry Guetta is as eccentric as he is portrayed in the film? I did feel a sense that something is not right with Guetta and his motives about making a documentary or the way that he life was going? I cannot dismiss a movie just because some parts of it was supposedly falsified. That is not my call. My job is to gauge that I enjoyed the movie for entertainment value.

Judgment: Look beyond the conspiracy theories and see what this movie is trying to say.

Rating: ****1/2

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About Branden

Branden: I am just your average movie nut that reviews films. Gives his take on pop culture and Hollywood happenings. Dreams to have his own thriving website and make a living doing what he is passionate about.

Posted on January 24, 2011, in 2010, Academy Award Nominee, Documentary and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I loved this film as well. Such a great conversation starter about commercial art.

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