Reviewer: Steve Dollar
Rating (out of 5): ***½
Whether you take it at face value or gradually get the feeing that you're watching an art-world answer to This Is Spinal Tap, the much yakked-about Exit Through the Gift Shop is a knowingly subversive commentary on subversive art - and one of the year's best screen comedies, intentional (which I fully believe it is) or otherwise (a little too good to be true).
Pulling a meta-Warhol move, the pseudonymynous UK street artist Banksy, now an international art celebrity, introduces a putative documentary about his work by turning the tables. Banksy, a silhouette in a hoodie whose voice is altered by distortion, tells us about a Los Angeles-based, French filmmaker who proposed making a movie about him, but instead it's Banksy who has made a film about the other guy: Thierry Guetta, a thrift shop owner turned obsessive video shooter of guerrilla street artists. Guetta, who is - or portrays - a classic sort of wacky Frenchman, becomes a funhouse double of what Banksy, and his LA pal Shepard Fairey, represent.