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Exit Through the Gift Shop

4.2 out of 5 stars 394 customer reviews

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(Dec 14, 2010)
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Editorial Reviews

Exit Through the Gift Shop is a chaotic study of low-level criminality, comradeship, and incompetence. By turns shocking, hilarious and absurd, this is an enthralling modern-day fairytale... with bolt cutters. This is the inside story of Street Arta brutal and revealing account of what happens when fame, money, and vandalism collide. Exit Through the Gift Shop follows an eccentric shopkeeper turned amateur filmmaker as he attempts to capture many of the world's most infamous vandals on camera, only to have famed British stencil artist Banksy turn the camcorder back on its owner in one of the most provocative films about art ever made.

Special Features

More Brainwashing: Deleted Scenes
A Star is Born: MBW at Cans Festival
Life Remote Control: Lawyer's Edit
B Movie: A Film About Banksy

Product Details

  • Actors: Banksy, Thierry Guetta, Shepard Fairey, Rhys Ifans (narrator)
  • Directors: Banksy
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Oscilloscope Laboratories
  • DVD Release Date: December 14, 2010
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (394 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00470MG06
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,980 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Exit Through the Gift Shop" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Having heard much praise heaped on the art world documentary "Exit Through The Gift Shop," I expected to enjoy the film although I had no inherent interest in the graffiti scene. But the film is a sly examination of what constitutes art in the modern era. What starts out as a conventional biography turns into one of the most pointed satires about this topic that I've ever seen. (Coincidentally, I just watched the fictional comedy "(Untitled)" which covers many of the same themes and offers an equally savage skewering of the hype and pretensions to be found in this world). I didn't, however, realize that I was specifically aware of the film's subject matter. I lived in Los Angeles during the pivotal time period presented in the movie, and I remember and recognize the major event that dominates the film's second half. Of course, I didn't have an insider's knowledge of how it came about--and I had no idea that learning the story would be so patently absurd or that it would have me laughing out loud!

That's right, for me, "Exit Through The Gift Shop" works as a comedy. I was entertained by the more conventional first half, but I was delighted by the ridiculous turn of events for the finale! The film follows Thierry Guetta, an amateur documentarian that becomes obsessed by the world of street art. With a camera constantly at the ready, Guetta insinuates himself into this underground community. He's an oddball, to be sure, traveling the globe and leaving his family to endlessly film footage without ever constructing a final product. When he teams up with one of Britain's most elusive talents (Banksy), the two become virtually inseparable.
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This isn't a traditional documentary, and I'm honestly not sure how sincere it is. One of the other reviews of this piece (an incredibly long, rambling, painful review) documents what happens in the film, and is right to question its sincerity. Although the film seems to bemoan the downfall of "street art," I think instead it rightfully engages what it is and means to be an artist in a capitalist system. It's very funny, very introspective, and often very profound, and is only strengthened by the nagging suspicion that the anger at "selling out" isn't actually anger at all. It reminds me more of Banksy's early work, where he placed his own paintings in major galleries, than the kind of high-profile "sincere" work that characterizes most street artists that become well-known. And, of course, it's an effort FROM those same artists, self-referential and self-questioning, but always interesting. Well worth watching, and a great documentary for an art class on public or socially active art.
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My wife and I heard about Banksy some time ago and were actually anxious just to learn more about his craft and talent. Akin to the main theme of the movie, after watching Exit Through the Gift Shop I think we got what we were looking for, but not quite in the way we expected.

The movie is divided pretty fairly into three equally entertaining sections. The first third introduces the protagonist, Thierry, and sets the background for his obsession with street artists. The middle portion of the movie introduces Banksy and follows the growth of his relationship with Thierry. The final act features Thierry almost exclusively, and while I was sure I knew where the film was going to end up, I found myself anxiously awaiting confirmation (incidentally, I couldn't have been more wrong).

My favorite thing about this excellent film is the conversations it begets once the credits have rolled. Questions are raised about each of the film's featured artists and the art world in general that may not have clear answers, but are entertaining to discuss nonetheless. I appreciated that the film was willing to acknowledge that it didn't have the answers either, especially considering how difficult it must have been to not pretend otherwise.

My wife and I may not agree about exactly what happened at the end of the film or why, but I think we can both agree on one thing after viewing: Banksy is much, much more talented than either of us originally thought (and we thought pretty highly of him before).
Comment 49 of 53 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
What starts as a possible peek into the mystery of Banksy, the world-renowned street artist, turns into an artistic peepshow into the brainwashing of a French filmmaker who in turn brainwashes his fans.

"Exit through the Gift Shop" is a fascinating look into the world of street art and those who pursue this new form, eschewing money and personal fame for the chance to make their mark and give the finger to the establishment at the same time. Many of these artists are truly amazing, and the efforts they go to in pursuit of venues and canvases are equally amazing. In the process, though, the public interest has turned those such as the enigmatic Banksy into sellable properties. Banksy, while making political statements on the West Bank wall and other places, decides to cash in on the growing fame and does a huge show in L.A. that drew Hollywood's brightest stars. In so doing, he makes street art into something marketable on a grand scale. Was this his intention? We don't know. Conveniently, he never lets us know how much he made.

He does, however, use this film to set up the French filmmaker Thierry as
an artist to be mocked. Thierry, good at documenting but not good at putting together a cohesive film, decides to put on a show of his in L.A. By some miracle, he pulls it off, flirting with financial ruin to make it happen, and ends up making a lot of money and a new name for himself as Mr. Brainwash. Yes, his art is derivative, and no, he did not pay his dues. He becomes a slightly pathetic, slightly comedic figure in all of this. But Banksy also cashes in, while not playing as honestly by letting us in on the details of his prestige and income in the art world. He also, glaringly, fails to explain how some of these artists travel the world.
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