Exit Through the Gift Shop: A Banksy Film is a humorous and ironic documentary film about street artists, in particular Banksy. The film began as the obsession of Thierry Guetta, a French immigrant in Los Angeles, who became fascinated by street art and spent years filming the art and its creators. The twist in the tale comes when Banksy turns into the film-maker, while Guetta decides to become an artist, under the name Mr. Brainwash. It premièred at the Sundance Film Festival on 24 January 2010. The film includes footage of notable graffiti or street artists at work, including Shepard Fairey, Guetta's cousin Invader, and Banksy himself, though the latter's face is never shown, and his voice is distorted to preserve his anonymity.
|Exit Through the Gift Shop|
|Narrated by||Rhys Ifans|
|Release date(s)||January 24, 2010(Sundance)|
|Running time||87 minutes|
[[File:|thumb|right|250px|Alternative poster]] Exit Through the Gift Shop: A Banksy Film is a film which tells the story of Thierry Guetta, a French immigrant in Los Angeles, and his obsession with street art. It is presented as a documentary, but reviewers have questioned its factuality. The film charts Guetta's constant documenting of his every moment on film, to his chance contact with his cousin, the artist Invader, and his documenting of a host of street artists with focus on Shepard Fairey, and also Banksy though the latter's face is never shown, and his voice is distorted to preserve his anonymity. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on 24 January 2010. It is narrated by Rhys Ifans. Music is by Geoff Barrow. It includes Richard Hawley's "Tonight The Streets Are Ours."
Characters appearing in the documentary include:
Banksy has said in interviews that editing the film together was an arduous process, noting that "I spent a year [...] watching footage of sweaty vandals falling off ladders" and "The film was made by a very small team. It would have been even smaller if the editors didn't keep having mental breakdowns. They went through over 10,000 hours of Thierry's tapes and got literally seconds of usable footage out of it." Producer Jaimie D'Cruz wrote in his production diary that obtaining the original tapes from Thierry was particularly complicated.
The documentary received overwhelmingly positive reviews, holding 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. One consistent theme in the reviews was the authenticity of the film: Was the film just an elaborate ruse on Banksy's part, or did Guetta really evolve into Mr. Brainwash overnight? The Boston Globe movie reviewer Ty Burr found it to be quite entertaining as a farce and awarded it four stars. He dismissed the notion of the film being a "put on" saying "I’m not buying it; for one thing, this story’s too good, too weirdly rich, to be made up. For another, the movie’s gently amused scorn lands on everyone."  However in the film during an interview with Mr Brainwash there is a painting of the Laughing Cavalier firmly placed in the background which might be a visual clue to the fact that Banksy has pulled a punk on the art world once again.[clarification needed] Roger Ebert gave it 3.5 stars out of 4, starting his review saying that "The widespread speculation that “Exit Through the Gift Shop” is a hoax only adds to its fascination." The New York Times movie reviewer, Jeannette Catsoulis, wrote that the film could be a new subgenre, a "prankumentary".