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Exit Through the Gift Shop
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this fascinating documentary features street artists whom some may label as subversive; their work is incredible and dynamic, but some consider them vandals. Also, questions have been raised about the veracity of the film's lead subject, though that actually heightens the interest in watching it. Expect some swearing ("f--k" and "s--t") and an examination of a type of art that purposefully crosses a line -- a point that might intrigue some teens.
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What's the story?
Thierry Guetta, a former Los Angeles shopkeeper, turns accidental documentary filmmaker and artist in EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP. Guetta is an avid videographer, and street artists became his favorite subject. After hobnobbing with the likes of such artists as Swoon and Shepard Fairey, who became famous for his rendition of Barack Obama’s countenance, Guetta befriended the famously reclusive Banksy, who gives him the task of attempting to make art himself. Guetta becomes Mr. Brainwash and takes to the task immediately, deciding to create a massive show and hyping it up in the media.
Is it any good?
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.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.