I went into watching Exit Through the Gift Shop thinking I was going to watch a documentary about Banksy. What I witnessed was a story about a Frenchman with OCPD named Thierry Guetta, filming street artists. Interviews from street-art luminaries such as Shepard Fierry and Space Invader shadowed by Welshman, Rhys Ifans’ narration give us first-hand look into the illegal, exciting, and hiply anonymous world of graffiti. Thierry finds himself being part look-out and part accomplice for the street artists as he follows them on their illegal-isms.
After thousands of hours of tapes were captured, Banksy tells Thierry now is the time to have this documentary be seen. The DVD extras for Exit Through the Gift Shop include a snippet of Thierry’s 90-minute documentary Life Remote Control. It was like someone trapped in a psychosis got a hold of a remote to their brain. Banksy then makes another suggestion for Thierry to hand over the footage, let him have a go at making a documentary with the footage, and advises him take a break.
Inspired by Banksy’s successful art exhibition accompanied with Thierry’s desperate approval of Banksy, he decides to spend his time off making “street art”. Exit Through the Gift Shop quickly unravels into a story about a Banksy knock-off named “Mr. Brainwash”.
There were so many facets of this documentary: I watched street artists put up what they do, I laughed at the outlandish metaphors of an amateur filmmaker, saw how easily people are duped into buying art from an eccentric loon, and lastly, I just watched Banksy discredit a copycat street artist. For those of you who question the authenticity of Thierry Guetta’s existence; he’s not imagined by Banksy. He is real. http://www.laweekly.com/2008-06-12/art-books/mr-brainwash-bombs-l-a/