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Movie Review: Exit Through the Gift Shop

Alternate Title: Takin' it to the Streets

Story: I loved this movie. It was joyous, funny, interesting, had a spirit of anarchy and I am not quite sure if the whole thing wasn't a hoax. But I was so entertained I don't care if I was fooled or not. I am still smiling from this film, a day later.

Street art is about free expression - for all. By street art, I am not talking about those horrific tags that are seen on rooftops and become a visual blight upon the landscape. No, the street art I am talking about are real statements - be they political, satirical or simply visually arresting. This movie is all about the daring artists that mostly work in the dark of night, in dangerous conditions to leave their mark for all of us to see. Art as expression, not commodity - or is it?

We get to meet street artists such as Shepard Fairey (who has his own story to tell over his battle with the Associated Press and his Obama HOPE image), Space Invader, Neckface, Swoon, Cheez, Coma and the most famous of them all, Banksy. We meet these deliberately reclusive artists because of one, Thierry Guetta, a Frenchman living in LA. Guetta is obsessed with filming everything. Through his cousin, Space Invader. he meets these artists of the night and begins his obsession of filming them while they create their art. He films and films and films and explains that he will be making a documentary on the subject. The problem is - he does nothing with his video tapes other them throw them in bins for storage.

Banksy requests that Guetta make his film. When Banksy watches Guetta's 90 minutes of unwatchable clips he turns the tables on Guetta and Banksy decides to make a documentary about Guetta. I will not reveal more of the plot or else some of the fun will be spoiled. But please, give yourself a treat and go see this film. You will laugh, you will question and most of all - it is great fodder for discussion after the film.

Watch the trailer here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTlm6dU2xHk

Watch footage of 5 street pieces Banksy put up around Park City to tie-in with the premiere of his film "Exit Through the Gift Shop" at the Sundance film festival in Jan 2010. Music is "Tonight the Streets are Ours" by Richard Hawley, which is used to open and close the film. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKyNopaplAo

Acting: It is hard to tell if anyone was acting or not. It was just fun. The always wonderful, Rhys Ifans was the narrator.

Trivia: Check out Banksy's website here: http://www.banksy.co.uk/index.html Check out Thierry Guetta (Mr. Brainwash) here:http://mrbrainwash.com/Check out Shepard Fairey's work here: http://obeygiant.com/ Check out street art here from the Wooster Collective: http://www.woostercollective.com/

Predilection: I like films about art.

Critters: A pink elephant.

Sex Spectrum: None

Blatant Product Placement: Most of the artists are trying desperately to have their products blatantly presented to the world.

Soundtrack: Terrific.

Visual Art: A visual delight from start to finish.

Theater Audience: About 30 people, mostly men. The ladies room was empty post film, but Sunjit told me the stalls were filled in the men's room. A rarity for sure. Is street art a testosterone thing?

Weather: Fine weather for street art.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 2

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I was riveted throughout.

Predictability Level: I had not a clue where this film was headed.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Yes

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen.

Length: 90 minutes