TIFF Day 9

Film Recommendation / Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)

‘Exit Through the Gift Shop,’ at Amazon

There’s not much most can say about Banksy but that he’s committed. Exit Through the Gift Shop,’ is a piece of art manifesting this trait so well it becomes perfect in ways I don’t have language to describe.

Exit Through the Gift Shop, embodies influence, time, evolution, identity, reality, framing, context, fantasy, and humanity — all packed into an 80-minute-long spiel outlining a generalized sort of contempt for a specific sort of person.

The documentary itself is easy to lose sight of. It’s Banksy’s film yet he presents as only a subject. That shapes our perception, significantly.

It’s not his glib put-downs, or the questionable integrity of his narrative that grates on me; it’s a significant act of cruelty. It’s Banksy’s hand in the creation and birth of the entity ‘Mr. Brainwash.’

Artistry is the touchstone here. ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop,’ is a perfect documentary on street art, and a perfect composition of elements built to present its case.

(Perhaps a more accessible film would’ve been the choice to make. ‘Knight and Day,’ is a great one. It’s from 2010. It also offers high-quality meta engagement (sorry, pun), high-level artistry, and also a lot of fun action and laughs. Ignore all the roofy-ing! It really is just a harmless plot device, I swear. Seriously, though, these two films have a lot in common, and a lot to recommend them for this. ‘Knight and Day,’ is one of the few movies I keep on my list of favourites.)