DocumentaryMovie Club

Exit Through the Gift Shop: Banksy and MBW!

Hello everybody! Today we have an interesting documentary about street art called Exit Through the Gift Shop.


STARRING: Thierry Guetta, Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Invader, André


GENRE: Documentary

YEAR: 2010

COUNTRY: United Kingdom

Banksy is a graffiti artist with a global reputation whose work can be seen on walls from post-hurricane New Orleans to the separation barrier on the Palestinian West Bank. He fiercely guards his anonymity to avoid prosecution. An eccentric French shop keeper turned documentary maker attempts to locate and befriend Banksy, only to have the artist turn the camera back on its owner. Includes footage of Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Invader and many of the world’s most infamous graffiti artists at work, on walls and in interview. As Banksy describes it, “It’s basically the story of how one man set out to film the un-filmable. And failed.”

This rags-to-artists tale is compelling, indeed, and every frame is worth watching. Guetta is a strangely fascinating subject, both as a documentarian wannabe and as an artist wannabe who captivates. (His show was hugely attended.) The film affords an appealing, if slightly roundabout, look at the world of street art — the thrill of the process, the lure of the rebellion. But you can’t help wondering, as you watch, whether we, as viewers, have become part of someone’s subversive art piece. The film, after all, is directed by Banksy, who’s presented here as a subject but then ends up documenting the filmmaker. Confused? Not surprising — but, hey, it’s an  adventure nonetheless.

Banksy has reason to feel sheepish about unleashing Mr Brainwash onto the world, and to set the record straight. But is the joke on us? The extent to which he “directed” this film at all is up for grabs, since we get no clue to Guetta’s level of participation. Whoever did, it’s cruelly entertaining – the story of an accidental artist becoming an overnight sensation, while his hero looks on in horror. If you check the internet, Mr. Brainwash is real, in that information can be found on such a person, but he’s about as authentic as Exit Through the Gift Shop itself. He’s a commentary on our gullibility, stupidity, and lust to connect our lives to something greater and more noble, but when the crowds fall silent and only the man remains, he’s crafting his next move, not struggling, monk-like, to create meaning from whole cloth.


  • Amazing documentary.
  • Variety of art,
  • Pacing.
  • Banksy.


  •  Mr. Brainwash is uninteresting.
  • Promotion of an almost cult.

SCORE: 8.5 / 10

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Brandon Stuhr

Who am I? Just some guy who decided to start writing on the Internet years ago and now operates his own brand and site. Owner/Operator of Modern Neon Media, I make all kinds of niche content to suit my interests at the time. DIY Enthusiast, Brewmaster extraordinaire, and avid freak for geek culture. Follow on my socials for a more "on" version of me.

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