Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Exit Through The Gift Shop (2010)

Ive decided to do my first review on Banksy's Exit through The Gift Shop in honour of it being awarded an Oscar nomination. In all honesty, I had never even heard of Banksy before watching this documentary and jumped onto google right after i finished the film. He has an extraordinary history. Basically he is a famous graffiti artist from the UK who has never been seen(bar close associates), is extremely elusive nor does anyone supposedly know his true identity however, he leaves his mark all over the place. Apparently, should you wake one morning and discover you (or your establishment) has been visited by him during the dead of night, the value of your property could fly through the roof as his work seems quite valuable besides the fact, his art really REALLY is a work of genius (and I'm no arty farty).
One of Banksy's Murals
Exit through the Gift shop (despite the movie poster initially giving me no clues as to the content of the story) is a thoroughly enjoyable and riveting story, even if you are not into art. The film is actually about a french amateur film maker, Thierry Guetta who documents the graffiti artists around his city and then decides to track down Banksy who is a legend in his field. Banksy in turn lands up supporting Thierry when he tries his hand at art and turns the camera on Thierry.

It was hard for me to decide if Thierry aka Mr Brainwash (hmmmmm....) was genuinely naive or in on the joke as some of his art is totally outrageous but thanks to a massive campaign lead by top graffiti artists..Mr Brainwash seemed to have found success. This ads to the mystery around the film as to was Mr Brainwash created for the amusement of Banksy and co, or did they really believe he had some talent?? Can anyone just become an artist?? You can be the judge! Even though I was covering my eyes in embarrassment for Thierry in some parts, he is a genuinely likable character and I REALLY wanted him to succeed.Its also an awesome look into the lives of these nocturnal creatures that create art while we all sleep. Besides some truly hilarious LOL moments in the film, its was an eye opener in what people are willing to believe in the name of hot trends, pop culture and celebrities.

This one definitely deserves its Oscar nod and is a remarkable, funny and fascinating doccie. If you hadn't heard of Banksy and his friends before now, you will spend hours after watching the film, trawling the net for info...

PS: Ive tried hard not to add any spoilers as with any doc, the less you know beforehand, the greater the impact when you watch it but if you do watch this one, would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.


  1. Can't comment yet. Actually don't even wanna read it yet cause I'm only watching it this weekend :)

  2. So I watched it last night. It was highly entertaining, and sparked of a huge debate between me and the Mr. I hope he will come post his own comments.

    I'm in two minds about the film. Yes it's original entertaining, and makes you think. But compared to some others we have watched and will hopefully discuss soon enough was it really "important" enough for Oscar material.

    Did it really make you gulp and consider reality again. Did it jolt you awake, changed your preconceived notions, and make you sit on the edge of your seat, and then made you want to get off that seat and DO something?

    Yeah I felt like spraying graffiti on a wall for about 5 minutes. Then I realised something. Banksy in the film asks Does Thierry's success show us that the whole world of art is just a Joke?

    Thierry himself says it is about brainwashing, making people believe something is great by using hype and pop culture.

    Well I'm gonna go out on a limb and say this film being nominated for an Oscar reinforces once again what a Big Joke "art" has become.

    If the right hype is created ANYTHING can become art, even when it is so blatantly not created by the "artist" or an even more blatant copy of a front runner's work

    This is Pop Culture, commercialism is king. And Banksy and all his associates know it. It has become about the Hype, the cool, the "in" thing :) This is Fashion

  3. LOlz, thats what I found so hilarious, its almost like Banksy proved how easy it is to con people into *celebrity/hollywood* and then the film goes and gets an oscar nomination.
    Hehehe, oooh, the irony!!! I actually lmao when I saw it was nominated. Lets see if it wins althou I wont be surprised if Restrepo get it instead.( due to the whole Iraq factor)