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Exit Through The Gift Shop (2010)

tomatometer

96

Average Rating: 8.1/10
Reviews Counted: 108
Fresh: 104 | Rotten: 4

An amusing, engrossing look at underground art, Exit Through the Gift Shop entertains as it deflates the myths and hype surrounding its subjects.

97

Average Rating: 8.1/10
Critic Reviews: 31
Fresh: 30 | Rotten: 1

An amusing, engrossing look at underground art, Exit Through the Gift Shop entertains as it deflates the myths and hype surrounding its subjects.

audience

92

liked it
Average Rating: 4.2/5
User Ratings: 22,547

My Rating

Movie Info

Banksy is a graffiti artist with a global reputation. Fiercely guarding his anonymity to avoid prosecution, Banksy has so far resisted all attempts to be captured on film. "Exit Through the Gift Shop" tells the incredible true story of how an eccentric French shop keeper turned documentary maker attempted to locate and befriend Banksy, only to have the artist turn the camera back on its owner with spectacular results. The film contains exclusive footage of Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Invader and

Dec 14, 2010

$3.3M

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Latest News on Exit Through The Gift Shop

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All Critics (108) | Top Critics (31) | Fresh (104) | Rotten (4) | DVD (4)

The plain fact is that, on some level, it doesn't matter whether the film is true or not. Either way, it's fascinating. Either way, we learn a lot. Either way, it's a great film.

June 24, 2010 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A provocative and absorbing exploration of what constitutes art, the creative process and the power of hype to triumph over talent.

June 23, 2010 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As the documentary morphs into a riddle about art in the marketplace, the eyes of the beholder get crossed, and the dizziness is part of the fun.

May 13, 2010 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Hoax or not, Exit Through the Gift Shop ends up energizing, aggravating, enjoyable and revealing. Is it art or isn't it? Who knows? Apparently no one.

May 7, 2010 Full Review Source: Detroit News | Comment (1)
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Put-on, satire, mockumentary, goof? Whatever it is, "Exit Through the Gift Shop" is an original.

May 7, 2010 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Like Banksy's best street work, it pushes and prods our gullibility buttons and sends the mind swirling with questions of artistic authenticity and intent.

May 7, 2010 Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The characters are as compelling as you will see in anything else. Banksy is his own antihero of the film, and Guetta is fascinating to watch in his obsessive glory.

January 5, 2014 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

Banksy exposes the con-job that is modern art for what it is.

January 29, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Nation
Movie Nation

Whatever your view of Britain's most famous street artist, prepare to be teased, provoked and possibly enraged by the release of his first movie.

August 2, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Talk
Movie Talk

Just as clever as the work of Sasha Baron Cohen, but not nearly as culturally worthwhile because it is not nearly as politically candid.

July 12, 2012 Full Review Source: Cinemania

An irritatingly misguided and pointless piece of work...

July 22, 2011 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews | Comments (6)
Reel Film Reviews

Too ironic by half, this film is hobbled most of all by principal Thierry Guetta, that I find insufferably banal. As a satire on a market-driven art world, it is fairly toothless. Why it has garnered rave reviews is the biggest puzzle of all.

May 1, 2011 Full Review Source: rec.arts.movies.reviews | Comment (1)
rec.arts.movies.reviews

Energetic, exciting, entertaining, and at times illegal, Exit Through The Gift Shop is a wicked treat.

April 5, 2011 Full Review Source: HitFix
HitFix

Those tricky questions that lie in the chasm between art and commerce are raised naturally through the progression of the narrative, whether that narrative is partially fabricated or not.

March 6, 2011 Full Review Source: Scene-Stealers.com
Scene-Stealers.com

Curious docu about street artists with some strong language.

February 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Since virtually anything can be considered art, the term has become virtually meaningless. This documentary proves it.

December 31, 2010 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

The behind-the-scenes insight into the techniques of illegal street art is fascinating, as is the art-market critique..

December 30, 2010 Full Review Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Illustrates how our insistence and abilities in judging and evaluating art are often arbitrary, contradictory, and idiotic.

December 29, 2010 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

It's funny, playful, and intriguing in a way that makes me want to see it again.

December 24, 2010 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

After all those debates about the meaning of art ... [who] would have thought that the best and most incisive comments on the argument would have come from street-punk Banksy?

October 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Quickflix
Quickflix

Regardless of its motives, Gift Shop is a superb work, one that demands the audience ask questions that don't always go down easily...

September 30, 2010 Full Review Source: Orlando Weekly
Orlando Weekly

A strange oxymoron of a film, like a straight-faced Spinal Tap or a Man On Wire for liars.

September 5, 2010 Full Review Source: Flicks.co.nz
Flicks.co.nz

The street artist known as Banksy is witty, he's smart, he's subversive -- and he's compelling. So it stands to reason that the street-art doc he ostensibly hijacked would be all those things, too.

August 2, 2010 Full Review Source: Times-Picayune
Times-Picayune

Confused yet? Good. Banksy probably wants you exactly that way.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Cinematical
Cinematical

Audience Reviews for Exit Through The Gift Shop

Banksy's directorial debut and it shows. It nears mockumentary status for how the subject of the film essentially becomes the filmmaker, but that switch comes too late to fulfill the larger narrative purpose or thesis, which isn't quite discernible either. I thought I'd be getting a film about graffiti and its status in the art world, but there is very little actual background or debate about this guerrilla art form.

The camera flashes quickly through the art pieces, not staying on any one long enough for the audience to take it in. The film is tainted by garbled and shadowed Banksy's desire for anonymous fame, and the motor is more propelled by Thierry Guetta's wild ravings and incompetent artistry than a real search for truth. This all makes me wonder whether or not Banksy even intended to make an earnest film about the legitimacy of graffiti (which seems to be what most people take away from this film), or if he actually just intended to alienate the audience with devil-may-care antics as a type of "joke's on you, this is shiite" anti-art performance piece, and if that's the case, he may have succeeded.
April 30, 2014
aliceinpunderland

Super Reviewer

A very interesting look into the life of street art. The film focuses on Thierry Guetta's life as a filmer and later as an "artist" under than Mr. Brainwash. He's able to achieve success with his art even though he lacks talent and it's funny (and also ridiculous) how he pulls it off. Some of the events in the film are outlandish and there has been speculation on if this is a true story or not. It's still an entertaining documentary with a good message that resonates most with artists.
December 11, 2013
Market Man
Eric Shankle

Super Reviewer

[img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon14.gif[/img]
November 4, 2013
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

A brilliant subversive commodity that brilliantly subverts the commodification of art. Wait, what do I mean? Spoilers follow... (after a statement like that, how could they not?).

Thierry Guetta has rarely let a moment of his life go unfilmed, and by coincidence - the street artist Space Invader is his cousin - he brings his obsessive zeal to bear on this particular underground, tracking down many of the biggest names for ride-alongs, filming them, and throwing the tapes in a bin... all under the premise that he's making a documentary. But Guetta is not making anything, merely documenting his unprecedented access to this specific scene - think of someone like Don Letts and the way he filmed The Clash, The Ramones, etc. And though Guetta finally manages to film Banksy, the movie he produces - at his "subjects'" urging - is, as Banksy says, "sh-t." Banksy says to Guetta, "Leave the footage with me, and go and make some of your own art," which Guetta does, under the name Mr. Brainwash (MBW), to rapid and spectacular financial success, basically by reproducing Banksy- and Warhol-style iconography in the right place, at the right time.

So what's so brilliant? Banksy manages to use the film to disown MBW, and to salvage the independence and integrity of the many street artists who might have gotten caught up in the "project," as MBW, despite his prolific ascent, has completely missed the point of street art: temporary subversion.

Though the odd piece - largely sculptures - can be saved and sold, by and large street art cannot last. Must not last. For Guetta to go into the business of "selling" street art is to expose himself as a profiteering hack, taking someone else's work and making his living off it...

...which, if you pay for this film, you are of course allowing Banksy to do. It's a rare piece from the master subversive that's intended to last, not for the purpose of selling it, but rather, for the purpose of protecting a legacy. It might be a bit mean-spirited in that it turns the knife in an admirer, and yet, I'm not sure Guetta would see it that way... this is more exposure than he'd ever otherwise have gotten, his big break, and he's all over the last half of the film, claiming with a straight face to know what he's doing with his art, almost preaching to the masses.

Effectively, Banksy is saying "We won't let you destroy us by making a movie about us - instead, we'll destroy you by making a movie about you." And yet, in its appeal to either audience - the hyper-underground or the hyper-uninitiated - the work may still fool some into thinking it's a collaboration, and as a third party, I could even be convinced it's symbiotic, in a way.

But never forget who signed this. Banksy is the subject making the film, and declaredly refusing to be the subject of it. Magnificent appropriation... of his own voice! Google "Gramsci organic intellectual" if you don't believe me. This is brilliant stuff.

(Good God: I hope the hoax rumours - that this is a mockumentary, not a documentary - aren't true. That would make me the biggest sucker of all... and nevertheless prove the film's brilliance, only more so.)
August 4, 2012
danperry17

Super Reviewer

    1. Banksy: I don't think Thierry played by the rules in some ways; but, then there are not suposed to be any rules. So, I don't really know what mine is. I mean I always used to encourage everyone I met to make art, I used to think everyone should do it. I don't do that so much anymore.
    2. Banksy: I don't know what it means, Thierry is huge success and a rival in the art world. I mean, maybe, Thierry was a genius all along. Maybe, he got a bit lucky. Maybe, it means art is a bit of a joke.
    – Submitted by Tommy B (2 years ago)
    1. Shepard Fairey: I do think the whole phenomenon of uh Thierry's obsession with street art, becoming a street artist, a lot of suckers buying into his show and him selling a lot of expensive art, um, very quickly. It is anthropologically, sociologically it's a fascinating thing to observe and maybe there's some things to be learned from it.
    2. Thierry Guetta: I feel good. I feel good as a Artist, to have a reputation, now. You know, an artist is not a guy that you see in one show and you can decide who it is or if he copies Banksy or if he copies uh Shepard Fairey or if he copies... It is about time. You'lll see in the time who I will be. Because, with time you will see my creativity. You will see if I am a real artist or not.
    – Submitted by Tommy B (2 years ago)
    1. Banksy: Most artists spend years perfecting their craft finding their style. Thierry seems to have missed all those bits. I mean there's no one quite like Thierry. Even if his art looks quite a lot like everyones else's.
    2. Banksy: He kind of the rightful heir to Andy Warhol in a way. Andy Warhol made a statement by repeating famous icons until they became meaningless. But, he was extremely iconic in the way he did it. But, then Thierry really made them meaningless.
    – Submitted by Tommy B (2 years ago)
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