11 feb. 2011

My Review: Exit Through The Gift Shop (10/10)

¨Do you know that tonight the streets are ours? And these lights in our eyes, they tell no lies.¨

Exit Through The Gift Shop is the best documentary I have seen in a long time. The film completely hooked my attention from the beginning and introduced me to a world I wasn`t familiar with: Street Art. Before this film I thought graffiti’s were simply senseless paintings on walls, but thanks to this movie I know there is much more to it now. For many it has become an art form. This film has divided viewers completely. Some believe it is a real documentary and others claim it is all a big hoax and Mr. Brainwash was just a made up character for the movie. In my opinion this documentary is a very well developed hoax and the main character in this film is just acting. He is hilarious and we never see him actually painting or doing much. I think Banksy is behind this entire hoax and he helped Mr. Brainwash`s character come to life. Banksy is one of the most famous street artist around and his true identity has never been revealed. He directs this documentary with a big hood over his head and has his voice altered as well. His character is just intriguing and after the film was over I wanted to learn more about him. He is mostly known for his stenciling technique and has done numerous jobs throughout the world. His political and social commentaries can be seen throughout his art. Banksy is a complete mystery. The documentary is narrated by Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill) and he gives the film a comedic touch as does the main character, Thierry Guetta.

Banksy begins the documentary by introducing us to Thierry Guetta, a French immigrant in LA who owns a vintage shop. Thierry lives a good life with his wife and two kids, but he has an obsession about carrying around his camera and recording everything. One day he travels to Paris and discovers his cousin is a street artist who goes by the name of Space Invader. Thierry becomes obsessed with street art and when he arrives back in LA he begins following around several street artists who allow him to film their work. Space Invader introduces Thierry to Shepard Fairey (the guy who came up with the poster for Obama`s campaign), one of the best known street artists in LA. Fairey teaches Thierry a thing or two about his craft and introduces him to many other artists. Thierry documents hundreds of hours of film since everyone seems to let him film their work with the excuse that he`s making a documentary about their craft. Once Thierry learns more about the street art culture he becomes interested in meeting this Banksy character who`s identity has never been confirmed. Thierry finally gets his break and meets Banksy when he shows up at LA. Banksy allows Thierry to document his work, but when Banksy realizes that Thierry is not actually a real film maker he decides to gather the hundreds of hours of footage and make the movie himself. Banksy encourages Thierry to become a street artist and he decides to do so by becoming Mr. Brainwash. Mr. Brainwash becomes an overnight sensation and therefore Banksy decides to make the documentary about him.

It doesn`t really matter whether the film is true or not, it still makes for a great documentary (or mocumentary). If you ask me there is no doubt in my mind that the film is a hoax and Banksy is actually making this film as a critique toward commercialism. He introduced us to a funny character named Thierry Guetta who is not actually a very bright guy and by the time he becomes Mr. Brainwash and decides to make a big art show he becomes an overnight sensation. Everyone wants to buy his art pieces. He doesn`t even make any of the pieces, he just hires a bunch of guys to do things for him and gives them a general idea about everything, but people are still willing to spend thousands of dollars for his work. There is not much Thierry even does. Banksy proves he is more than a street artist; he has made one of the best documentaries of the decade as a film maker. Thierry Guetta begins as an amateur film maker in this documentary and ends up becoming a successful street artist, while Banksy a well known street artist becomes a successful director. The film has been nominated for Best Documentary at the Oscars and it would be fun to see who shows up to the ceremony (it would be even greater if the film won, and we got to see the actual Banksy reveal his true identity). This Guetta guy is extremely funny in this movie and Exit Through The Gift Shop is one of my top 5 films of the year. Banksy has made his masterpiece.

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