Review of 'Exit Through the Gift Shop'

exit_through_the_gift_shop.jpg Rather than telling the story of “Banksy”, probably the world's most famous (and best) street artist this documentary instead chooses to focus on the extremely odd film maker “Thierry Guetta” (Mr. Brainwash). Guetta begins with a passion for filming and in particular, filming street artists. Ostensibly he is putting together a film about street art but in reality the tapes pile up in his house with his only interest really in capturing the moment rather than putting together a film. He eventually finds himself travelling around the world to film these artists as they go about their work and often actually helping them. Eventually Guetta gets a lucky break and is able to meet up with the most famous of them all, London-based Banksy, a recluse who is notoriously shy of any publicity as he maintains his anonymity. Banksy allows Guetta to film his life in the studio and the streets. Banksy decides to open his first major exhibition in California. When this exhibition proves to be a tremendous success Guetta decides to give street art a try himself then later with a tremendously inflated opinion of his talent he eventually opens his own over-hyped exhibition that inexplicably ends up successful also.

An interesting world of which I know very little. I can certainly admire the art for it's sake but I am torn between this and the thought that what street artists do is, generally, illegal (though, fair play, they are often so successful property owners are only too happy to take it off the wall and sell it for outrageous sums). The film is fun particularly with scenes of Banksy simply aghast at the success of Guetta. It is unclear whether he is irked with Guetta personally having potentially taken advantage of Banksy's fame for his own purposes or whether he is annoyed with the entire art industry which would celebrate Guetta because he is the “flavour of the day”, a street artist, rather than through any actual talent.

“Exit Through the Gift Shop” is quirky story of fame and a fairly stiff critique of the art industry as it suffers from it's own hype and inescapable commercialism.

Rating: “Really good but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2019-03-02

Directed by: Banksy

Studio: Paranoid Pictures

Year: 2010

Length: 87 minutes

Genre: Documentary