Exit Through the Gift Shop

12 Jul

Title: Exit Through the Gift Shop
Year: 2010
Director: Banksy
Starring: Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Thierry Guetta, Rhys Ifans, Space Invader
MPAA Rating: R, some language
Runtime: 87 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating: 8.5
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%

If you’re like me and you love the underground graffiti artist Banksy and like the whole myth and personna he has build around himself you’ll love Exit Through the Gift Shop, one of the funniest documentaries, if it can even be classified purely as that, I have ever seen, or at least definitely the funniest one about art, if you don’t know a thing about Banksy then consider yourself lucky to have such a masterful introductory course to one of the greatest creative minds of our time and revel in such discovery, because this is a seriously good look into this artist, even if it’s not about him at all, and even if we’re not entirely sure about how serious this all really is.

That’s because there is some speculation about this all being one big hoax, I don’t care if it is really, and god knows it wouldn’t be uncharacteristic from Banksy, who’s anonymity seemingly adds this sort of speculation to everything he does, in Exit Through the Gift Shop we get him in Los Angeles where he meets this French artist who I wasn’t sure at first was real and convinces him to become an artist himself after he learns that he likes videotaping graffiti artists, but apparently the Frenchman, Thierry Guetta is indeed real, and he did put up a show of his own art and sold incredibly well, and we go deep into the life of this man, this man who has true passionate love about the illegal art of these artists, a man who has literally devoted his entire life to that love, going to dangerous places and putting himself at risk to aid and film the artists he loves so much.

The film relies entirely on Guetta really, and it’s a good thing because he’s a subject that makes for a pretty entertaining film, a funny film and a film that really keeps your attention in the greatest of ways and that’s what a documentary should be all about, entertainment while informing us on the lives of interesting people or interesting events, and I like it that it’s not about Banksy, it has some Banksy in it, it certainly has the imprint of the anonymous artist, but it’s about Guetta and it’s a successful and funny exploration of this form of art (because to me it really is art) and the people involved in it, and it’s seriously interesting to see what the creators of this art think of their own craft. I’m not sure if this documentary is an elaborate prank or performance art piece, and I think the only one that really knows this for sure is Banksy himself, and we know he won’t be telling us any time soon.

Grade: B+


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