Exit Through the Gift Shop

DOCUMENTARY; 1hr 27min


Art terrorist: Banksy

Street artists exist on the fly and outside the law. To document their covert work takes a persistence and nerve with which Thierry Guetta is brimming. A podgy, voluble, Los Angeles–based French boutique owner, Guetta is plainly prone to fixations — one being his videocamera and the other artists of the likes of Space Invader (conveniently, Guetta’s cousin), Shepard Fairey and, primarily, Brit provocateur Banksy, the most secretive of the lot. Wheedling his way into Banksy’s self-protective world, Guetta becomes his ally, filming oodles of footage of the hooded artist at work with the vague aim of a documentary. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a film-making clue, which results in Banksy taking over the project and turning the focus on Guetta himself.


Exit Through the Gift Shop’s first half is an eye-opener as Guetta circles the slyly creative scene. The second is a jaw-dropping hoot as the grandiose dreamer decides to join those he idolises, renaming himself Mr Brainwash and orchestrating an almighty, derivative, staggeringly tacky — and commercially successful — show. An elusive Mr Cool to the crazy end, Banksy clearly knows a gale-force character when he comes across one.