Hollywood Reporter - 01/26/2010
"Touching on contemporary cultural trends, the popular/high art divide and celebrity obsession while showcasing world-renowned artists, EXIT offers broad audience appeal..."
Wall Street Journal - 04/16/2010
"[A] deft send-up of artists, art critics and the commodification of contemporary art..."
Los Angeles Times - 04/16/2010
"Subversive, provocative and unexpected, EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP delights in taking you by surprise, starting quietly but ending up in a hall of mirrors as unsettling as anything Lewis Carroll's Alice ever experienced."
New York Times - 04/16/2010
"Scrutinizing the commodification of street art and the lemminglike behavior of many enthusiasts, Banksy mischievously exfoliates the next-big-thing hunger and the posers who pursue it."
A.V. Club - 04/15/2010
"Just as a permanent record of a remarkable artistic movement, EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP is valuable....Banksy delivers a surprisingly wry, analytical essay-film..." -- Grade: A-
Movieline - 04/14/2010
"The movie has the feel of an elaborate hoax...and it probably is."
Rolling Stone - 04/29/2010 3 stars out of 4 -- "The line between making guerrilla art and selling out has never blurred more provocatively."
Chicago Sun-Times - 04/28/2010 3.5 stars out of 4 -- "The widespread speculation that EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP is a hoax only adds to its fascination."
Washington Post - 04/30/2010 3 stars out of 4 -- "A celebration of pranksterism and perhaps a superb prank in its own, the documentary EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP captures the outlaw, monkey-wrenching glee of the graffiti artist who became art stars at the turn of this century..."
Sight and Sound - 05/01/2010
"You leave this extraordinary film reeling, unsure what to believe....A brilliant and searching enquiry into the value we place on authenticity, and an equally serious enquiry into the nature, causes and purposes of art."
Total Film - 08/27/2010 4 stars out of 5 -- "Relishing ambiguity, Banksy has a postmodern ball with notions of art, fraudulence and authenticity."
Uncut - 11/01/2010 4 stars out of 5 -- "[I]t's a spoof, executed by Banksy and US artist Shepard Fairey, designed to illustrate the gullibility of the art world..."
EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP marks the feature-film debut of notorious street artist Banksy. The documentary's focus is French-born L.A. thrift-shop owner Thierry Guetta, whose apparent compulsion to videotape every moment of his life led him to document the phenomenon of contemporary street art. Guetta's cousin, a street artist known as Space Invader, allowed the avid cameraman to tape him as he illegally spread his artwork, and Space Invader also introduced him to other street artists, whose work Guetta captured on tape. Eventually, Guetta hooked up with Shepard Fairey, who was best known (before he created an iconic Barack Obama campaign poster) for his widespread stickers featuring an image of the late wrestler Andre the Giant over the word "OBEY." Guetta soon hears about the mysterious street artist/prankster Banksy, and becomes obsessed with finding him and videotaping his exploits. Thanks to Guettta's growing reputation among street artists, the two eventually meet and form a sort of partnership. Guetta even videotapes Banksy's infamous "Gitmo" prank at Disneyland, wherein a handcuffed, hooded figure in an orange jumpsuit is placed beside one of the rides. They get along quite well until Banksy suggests that Guetta stop shooting, take the countless hours of footage he's accumulated, and start assembling them into a documentary. Banksy eventually takes over the documentary project, and inadvertently pushes Guetta's creative energy in a new direction, as Guetta becomes a kind of street artist himself, with shocking results. EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP, narrated by Rhys Ifans, had its world premiere at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. While it was very well received, there was much speculation as to the documentary's veracity and the provenance of Guetta, his videotape, and his artwork. Given Banksy's reputation, that should not come as a surprise.
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