Exit Through The Gift Shop
Directed by Banksy
Narrated by Rhys Ifans
This documentary follows a man named Thierry Guetta, a French immigrant in LA who is obsessed with recording every moment of his life. While visiting France, he discovers that a cousin of his is actually the well known street artist Invader.
This is the start of Guetta’s obsession with the secretive lives of street artists. Through Invader, he meets & documents other street artists at work including Monsieur André, Zevs & finally Shepard Fairey back in LA who then helps Guetta to document several other street artists throughout the country. Through Shepard Fairey, and to Guetta’s huge delight, he finally meets the extremely elusive Banksy, who agrees to be documented as long as his identity remains a secret…
I saw this movie back in January. Although I absolutely loved it, I guess I never reviewed it because I had no idea how to go about it. But when I asked all of you which film I should review of the ones I hadn’t, this was the winner (yay! you all have good taste.). 🙂
There is SO much more to this documentary than what I’ve put in the above summary! I’ve barely even scratched the surface. To be honest, if you don’t yet know much about this film, I don’t think you should really know any more before seeing it. Just watch it. I highly recommend it – it’s one of the best films I’ve seen in the past few years.
If you have the slightest interest in art or filmmaking (or even if you don’t and would just enjoy a very entertaining film with some oddball characters), watch this. Don’t read too much about it beforehand – it really needs to be seen to be believed. Or possibly not believed… It’s an absolutely fascinating look at the world of art. What defines art? Is street art really art? Or is it only art once it’s hanging in a museum? Can just anyone make it? And what about Banksy, who started out a simple street artist but is now having art shows and selling his work for lots of money to the rich & the famous? Is he any more or less of an artist now?
This documentary explores these things in such a unique way by turning the tables on the viewer. I thought this film was extremely clever, even if I was just being brainwashed the whole time. Ultimately, it really doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter who Banksy is. It doesn’t matter who Mr Brainwash is (who?! watch the movie…). 😉 What matters is that art is art as long as there’s at least one person who considers it to be (in my opinion) and this film is a thoroughly entertaining piece of art.
Okay – I love Banksy. That’s going to have helped me liking this film. I honestly don’t know why it took me so long to watch this documentary. I suppose that, by the time the film finally came out, Banksy was EVERYWHERE. You couldn’t walk through a shopping mall (in the UK at least) without seeing Banksy stuff for sale. As with anything that becomes too mainstream, it loses its appeal a bit. Especially something that’s meant to be so anti-establishment in the first place. (Did I use that word correctly? Check out me & all my big words in my reviews lately! Lol!).
Many years ago, before he was quite so well known, I went on a Banksy tour around London to see some of his work. Unfortunately, some of it was already gone (like this famous one – now painted over. what a shame! we could just make out the outline):
I did manage to get one decent photo of one that was still there (on my ancient camera phone!) – I’ll include that at the end of this post. But I really can’t finish this “review” without posting pictures of some of Banksy’s work:
Shepard Fairey also plays a very big part in this documentary. I wasn’t that familiar with his work before the film. He created that whole “Obey”/Andre The Giant thing, which comes partly from a favorite movie of mine: They Live. Fairey later created the following They Live Mondo poster for the Alamo Drafthouse. I absolutely adore it & have already posted it a couple of times:
Fairey has done lots of other work, including things such as album covers & the Barack Obama “Hope” poster.
One great thing about this documentary is that it got me very curious about everyone involved. I spent ages reading about Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Mr Brainwash, etc. I hope you’ll watch this film and then do the same. It’s the sign of a good film when you get your audience wanting to explore things further. As for Banksy – Yes, he’s supposedly been named. There’s a picture that’s meant to be of him. But I won’t post links to these things. If you want to look for it, you can. But I think knowing who he really is would ruin what makes his work so special. Anonymity is rare in this age where everyone famous is on Twitter or has some ridiculous reality show.
A fascinating documentary about the world of street art that also happens to be a thoroughly amusing & entertaining film with some great characters. I’ve said very little about what actually happens in the film – it needs to be seen to be believed (or not believed…). Go to it without reading up on it too much beforehand – save that for after the film. Trust me, you’ll WANT to read more about it the second the film finishes. An excellent work of art.
My Rating: 8.5/10
My Grin Reaper photo from my “Banksy Tour” around London:
My Exit Through The Gift Shop Haiku:
Banksy does street art
And great documentary
Who’s Mr Brainwash?