Exit Through the Gift Shop
Release date: March 5, 2010
Exit Through the Gift Shop is a documentary by mysterious street artist Banksy as he obtains the footage to chronicle the effervescent rise of Thierry Guetta as “street artist” Mr. Brainwash.
It begins with Guetta, who seems to be just your regular French man living in the US who has the passion to use his camera. Later we realize that Guetta is just a man with too much time on his hands and short attention span. He begins following a series of street artists, and is trying to catch the most infamous street artist of all… Banksy. He pretends to be shooting a documentary about street art, but in reality he just wants to shoot with his camera.
During these sequences it is when the documentary is the most exciting, as we follow many of them — Space Invader, Shepard Fairey to name a couple — in the middle of the night as they begin plastering their art all over buildings.
When Guetta finally gets to meet Banksy and becomes Mr. Brainwash, Exit Through the Gift Shop turns into the most absurd case of hype… possibly ever to be recorded.
To be perfectly honest, this could play out like The Social Network of street art, except Mr. Brainwash is less a street artist (or is he?) than MovieZuckerberg is a coder. In it, Banksy actually pushes Guetta to work on his art, and accidentally turns him into Mr. Brainwash, creating some sort of monster. The most amazing thing? People buying into it, and celebrities — including Brad and Angelina and Christina Aguilera, just to name a few — attending his shows.
It’s not what you can do, is whom you know and what they can do for you.