Exit Through the Gift Shop

Banksy's work in England

Today I want to talk about a movie that you probably haven’t heard of, a documentary called Exit Through the Gift Shop. A movie that you need to see.

The movie consists of a decent amount of footage from a French guy named Tierry who decides to document the secret subculture of street artists (think graffiti, but in painting form instead of giant signatures). He descends deeper and deeper into this culture until he decides to join it himself.

Exit is both horrifying and fascinating. It’s horrifying because it’s about people who deface public property. It’s tough for me to watch people do that. But it’s fascinating because I came into this movie knowing absolutely nothing about this subculture.

Plus, some of the art is beautiful and provocative. You can do things with street art that you can’t do on canvas, as you can see on the example here.

By far the most talented of these artists is a guy named Banksy. When the movie started showing his work, I was absolutely riveted. Plus, Banksy, the most famous of the street artists, is an enigma. His face and voice remain shrouded in mystery throughout the movie. I wonder how long this guy has kept up the mystery. His story reminds me a bit of the lifelong magic trick pulled by Christian Bale in The Prestige.

I highly, highly recommend this movie. It’s escapism at its most informative.

Daily Quickie: The Fighter is also a fantastic film–I just saw it last night. The aforementioned Christian Bale is amazing in it, as is the rest of the cast (included my loveflower Amy Adams). The boxing is great, especially the last fight, and it includes a hilarious line said by Mark Wahlberg in reference to a much larger, toned boxer he was about to fight. Wahlberg’s character had been told that the other boxer hadn’t been working out at all (his promoter said the boxer had just “rolled off the couch”). Upon seeing him, Wahlberg says, “If he just rolled off the couch, I gotta get that couch.”

13 thoughts on “Exit Through the Gift Shop”

  1. I’ve heard great things about both. They’re each on my list of movies I want to see, but I just got around to watching “Inception” last night, so it might be a while!

    Have you seen “Winter’s Bone” yet? Very disturbing and heartbreaking, but an excellent movie. As someone who grew up in rural Missouri, I can confirm that it was a little too accurate. I wasn’t nearly as rural or poor as the characters in the movie (I refer to my hometown as the “metropolis of northeastern Missouri”), but I could see a lot of similarities to people that I’ve met or grown up with. Go rent it if you have the chance–I highly recommend it.

    • I’m glad you recommended Winter’s Bone. I’ve gone back and forth about it–I’ve read really positive reviews, and I’ve read reviews that admire the acting and setting but indicate that it’s pretty boring. I’ll take your word for it and add it to my queue.

      • I can see that some people might think it’s boring because there’s not a lot of “action” that takes place–there aren’t any shootouts or car chases. But there are, in my opinion, some extremely tense and truthful moments that were more thrilling to me than most action movies. It’s not a film to rent if you’re looking to escape from reality for a while, but I wouldn’t discount it just because of that. I could also see some very urban people who’ve never experienced small town life being unable to relate to certain things that happen.

        • Here, I’ll post the review (from a trusted reviewer) that originally made me take it off my Netflix queue:

          “Winter’s Bone had all the elements I hate in indie films. A depressing main character. A super slow story. A low budget that impedes the suspension of disbelief. As my brother put it: “This is the most depressing movie EV-ER!” Indeed, they could’ve retitled this, “Girl Walks From House to House For 90 Minutes.” The story structure itself is actually solid. A girl responsible for taking care of her family must find her deadbeat father in order to save her house. You have a clear goal (find the dad), a *technically* interesting underdog character (a girl who must take on the responsibilities of an adult), high stakes (fail and her family loses the house). So there are a lot of things this screenplay did right. But there was something about the main character, or more specifically the actress who portrayed her, that was so inaccessible that I could care less whether she found her dad or not. But the biggest problem with this film doesn’t need any screenwriting jargon to explain. It was plain old boring.”

          This is from https://scriptshadow.blogspot.com/

          • Ouch, that was a little harsh! I think she was a great main character, but might be viewed as inaccessible because she isn’t able to act like a typical teenager since she is responsible for her family. She’s become hardened by her environment, but you see her vunerability slip through sometimes despite her actions.

            Most of the movie is about her being threatened directly and indirectly about pursuing her father’s whereabouts, but she has to continue anyway because she doesn’t have any other choice. She doesn’t just roam from house to house–she gets the crap kicked out of her, threatened with death over and over, and saved by someone who might end up killing her anyway.

            But that’s just my two cents. I guess you’ll just have to watch it and let us know what you think! 🙂

  2. “Winter’s Bone” is fantastic, if depressing. Also all too realistic, I’m afraid.

    As for “Gift Shop”, I caught some of this over the holidays, and I was intrigued. It’s my understanding that it’s something of a hoax, however. Not that that makes it any less of a film.

    • The plugs keep getting better and better. After you watched the movie, did your food taste better? Did animated birds perch on your shoulder and sing songs by request? Did you discover that you have a tree in your background that bears money and chocolate?


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