“Exit Through the Gift Shop” Movie Review

27 Apr

Exit Through the Gift Shop is a documentary film that starts as one movie and ends as another. It tells the story of how an eccentric French shop keeper (Thierry Guetta), who literally films everything, from the bathroom to driving, is thrust into becoming an amateur film maker. Guetta discovers a family relative is the famous street artist Space Invader – which leads him on a journey into the world few have seen. We see and meet other street artists like Neckface, Swoon, Cheez, Coma, and, perhaps the best known, Shepard Fairey (who went on to design the Obama “Hope” image). It leads Guetta to get close enough to not only meet Banksy (the most famous street artist in the world), but befriend him. After filming him for some time, Thierry finds that the camera is turned on him, directed by Banksy – producing amazing results, and a spectacular film.

Click to read the rest of my review:


Try and watch the first 5 minutes and not be hooked.

The movie’s main character is the Frenchman Guetta – and something strange draws you into his life immediately and you feel a connection as he goes through his trials in the film. He is extremely animated in almost every scene. You almost feel bad for him as the film progresses, he starts as an innocent man with a camera that gets sucked into the world of street artists. He himself even says he lived for the danger, the thought he could get caught at any moment. This progression of Guetta was key to the film succeeding. It let the audience sit back and also be sucked into this world alongside him as the film spanned over a decade of time.

In a chance encounter, Guetta and Banksy meet – and become close friends. Banksy is only in small portions of the film (hooded, blurred face, and warped voice), but his parts were the ones you remember most. Perhaps its the allure of a man who is the most famous street artist ever. The results of this friendship are incredible – an inside look into the world of Banksy that no one has ever seen. Guetta finishes his documentary and shows it to Banksy. You get to see parts of it in the film, and it is awful. Banksy describes it as, “It was just hours…of that sh**.” So Banksy decides to have his own take in editing the footage and making his own documentary about Guetta’s life – which Banksy finds far more interesting than his own. Through Banky’s directing eyes, we see Guetta in a different light than he would have portrayed himself. The way the film has been made makes Guetta look immature, awkward, and turns him into a laughable character (which makes sense at the end of the film as to why).

There have been rumors that this whole film is a con – a mockumentary. After all, the film is a jab at the mainstream art world, so this could be Banksy’s way of mocking them. While it’s tough to disprove these rumors, with Banksy being one of the most reclusive people on the planet, I want to believe it is a real documentary that Banksy took upon himself to produce – and he might have just created his finest piece of art to date.

Exit Through the Gift Shop is one of the best documentaries I have ever seen. A story about an obsessed man who has the tables turned on him, only to turn the tables on Banksy and just about every other street artist out there. Even knowing nothing of street art, you will be enjoy the film. Exit Through the Gift Shop is extremely entertaining and I encourage everyone to go see it any chance you get.

Kibitzers Rating: 9 out of 10
[Ed Note – the soundtrack was also amazing, check the track listing here]

After the film, E Street Theater allowed some local street artists to show off some of their work. The Kibitzers got to meet up with JaziRock, who gave us his card. If you’re interested in finding out more about the DC street scene check out his website at http://www.jazirock.com or give him a shout out at jazi@jazirock.com.

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2 Responses to ““Exit Through the Gift Shop” Movie Review”

  1. Katie April 28, 2010 at 12:36 pm #

    Never even heard of this movie! Is this your favorite documentary ever?

  2. Ghudson April 28, 2010 at 12:47 pm #

    I think it was Katie. Extremely well made, and so interesting. Go check it out. I think it’s just in major cities right now though!

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