Exit Through the Gift Shop movie review: Sometime in the 1990s, amateur French videographer Thierry Guetta stumbled into the world of street art and began to feverishly record everything he saw. In the process, he gained access to the scene's biggest stars, who were waging an underground art revolution armed with spray paint, stencils, sculptures, ladders and loads of chutzpah. He also came face to face with one of street art's most elusive figures: controversial—and unidentified—British artist Banksy, who ended up hijacking Guetta's film, turning the camera on Guetta himself and exposing the Frenchman's growing pomp and pretension.
The buzz: For street artists, the scene's prime currency is not getting caught, and most have successfully managed to hide their identities—including Bansky, whose subversive works have been seen from London to the West Bank. Banksy, who is credited as the film's director, appears throughout the documentary, albeit in a hooded silhouette. It's the closest anyone has gotten to uncovering the mysterious artist.
The verdict: A captivating and cautionary chronicle of buying into the mystique of street art—and the perils of selling out. And what a chronicle it is. The documentary is an amateur-cam exposé filled with graffiti-splashed goodness, trailing artists as they scale buildings, elude cops, create stunning works and prance around like the rebellious art-world rock stars they are. All sorts of big-name street artists pop up, including Shepard Fairy, who created the iconic Obama HOPE poster. The real scene-stealers are Guetta and Bansky, who blur the line between filmmaker and subject. When it becomes clear that Guetta is actually a wannabe artist—a poseur, in the eyes of his peers—Bansky, as director, exploits the luscious irony of it all by calling out Guetta's put-on artsy-fartsy-ness. It stinks. The movie doesn't. Source: Metromix