Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)

This twisty documentary begins as a chronicle of guerilla street art and then flips the script. Its star subject, mysterious British artist Bansky, becomes the director, cutting down Thierry Guetta’s massive amount of footage into a workable frame. The subject becomes the filmmaker and the filmmaker becomes the subject. Exit Through the Gift Shop is a canny film that questions the nature of art, good and bad, the documentary format, and even our perspectives on reality (what is real when seen through a lens?), all with prankish humor and an anarchist’s eye. The film starts as an introduction to street art and famous underground street artists. Initially wary, they come to trust Guetta’s ever-present camera and then wish they hadn’t. At the end, when Guetta becomes a multi-million dollar street artist under the guise Mr. Brainwash, you’re not quite certain whether everything you’ve just witnessed is one elaborate put-on, a master practical joke on the commercialization of art and style. This is far more than a look at ordinary graffiti artists. These cultural satirists question the very idea of what constitutes art, who owns it or deserves to, and the overwhelming power of self-manufactured hype to hoodwink. You get to watch the birth of an underground art form and then watch its commercialization. We’re probably only minutes away from knock-off Bansky-like tote purses. See Exit Through the Gift Shop and watch the stylistic birth and near death of an art form you never knew existed.

Nate’s Grade: B+


About natezoebl

One man. Many movies. I am a cinephile (which spell-check suggests should really be "epinephine"). I was told that a passion for movies was in his blood since I was conceived at a movie convention. While scientifically questionable, I do remember a childhood where I would wake up Saturday mornings, bounce on my parents' bed, and watch Siskel and Ebert's syndicated TV show. That doesn't seem normal. At age 17, I began writing movie reviews and have been unable to stop ever since. I was the co-founder and chief editor at PictureShowPundits.com (2007-2014) and now write freelance. I have over 1400 written film reviews to my name and counting. I am also a proud member of the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA) since 2012. In my (dwindling) free time, I like to write uncontrollably. I wrote a theatrical genre mash-up adaptation titled "Our Town... Attacked by Zombies" that was staged at my alma mater, Capital University in the fall of 2010 with minimal causalities and zero lawsuits. I have also written or co-written sixteen screenplays and pilots, with one of those scripts reviewed on industry blog Script Shadow. Thanks to the positive exposure, I am now also dipping my toes into the very industry I've been obsessed over since I was yea-high to whatever people are yea-high to in comparisons.

Posted on December 18, 2010, in 2010 Movies and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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