Universal acclaim - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27

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Critic Reviews

  1. That rarest of art documentaries, one that actually leaves viewers with a better sense of the gifted versus the phony.
  2. An exhilarating hall-of-mirrors look at what happens when global art fame turns anonymous, artists become objects, fans turn into artists, and the whole what's-sincere-and-what's-a-sham spectacle is more fun than art was ever supposed to be.
  3. 100
    Subversive, provocative and unexpected, Exit Through the Gift Shop delights in taking you by surprise, starting quietly but ending up in a hall of mirrors as unsettling as anything Lewis Carroll's Alice ever experienced.
  4. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    One of the best, most karmically satisfying comedies of the year, much to the chagrin of the people who are in it.
  5. 91
    A documentary that doubles as a comic thriller, and it’s as entertaining as it is thought-provoking.
  6. Whatever it is, Exit Through the Gift Shop is an original.
  7. Hugely entertaining documentary challenges conventional concepts of legitimate art and the creative process.
  8. Exit could be a new subgenre: the prankumentary. Audiences, however, would be advised simply to enjoy the film on its face -- even if that face is a carefully contrived mask.
  9. 90
    Some have suggested that the whole story, including the emergence of Mr. Brainwash, is an elaborate hoax engineered by Banksy to satirize the commodification of art. If so, it’s a brilliant one.
  10. A sparkling documentary in which we can't trust that anything in it is true. And yet you would never call it a hoax.
  11. It’s endlessly arguable and open for debate. At the very least, we can all agree that Banksy has found a new wall on which to plaster his art – that of the silver screen.
  12. A beguiling and subversively funny entertainment that considers art's worth from many angles, including that of guerrilla painters, gallerists, and seasoned collectors.
  13. 88
    The widespread speculation that Exit Through the Gift Shop is a hoax only adds to its fascination.
  14. The brilliantly untrustworthy documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop reminds us that a film can start out in one direction and then change course so radically, it becomes an act of provocation unto itself.
  15. For a public that's been bullied by the tastemakers, the mystery is a gift. Once we exit this fun house, the only giant left to obey is ourselves.
  16. 88
    What makes Exit Through the Gift Shop so fascinating -- and it is riveting, regardless of your interest in the art world -- is the eloquent way in which it illustrates how beauty and meaning really are in the eye of the beholder and how that eternal phrase still holds true: There's a sucker born every minute.
  17. 83
    A diverting, playful and puzzling documentary.
  18. Narrated by Rhys Ifans with the dryness of a dessicated toad, Exit Through the Gift Shop is both an exhilarating testament to serendipity and an appalling testament to art-world inanity.
  19. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    A raucously entertaining postmodern survey of guerrilla street art that appears to be one thing, only to fold back on itself and examine would-be filmmaker Thierry Guetta instead.
  20. 80
    Not just the definitive portrait of street-art counterculture, but also a hilarious exposé on the gullibility of the masses who embrace manufactured creative personas.
  21. This faux-documentary is droll, aerosol-thin and ultrameta.
  22. Along the way, the movie documents a movement while deftly skewering a cynical media and ever-gullible public. So whether we're being had or just enlightened, Banksy's definitely found a new medium in which to create his own works of art.
  23. 80
    The British street artist's hilarious documentary is a head-spinning, wild ride.
  24. A fascinating and entertaining glimpse into the world of high-level and socially conscious graffiti artists?
  25. 75
    The line between making guerrilla art and selling out has never blurred more provocatively.
  26. 75
    It's mainly about a supremely annoying French-born LA clothier who became a hugely successful artist without pausing to consider his utter lack of originality or talent.
  27. 50
    As a study in prankhood, this Banksy film can’t touch “F for Fake,” Orson Welles’s 1974 movie about an art forger. Welles both conspired with his untrustworthy subject and held him at arm’s length, like a conjurer with his rabbit, and you came out dazzled by the sleight, whereas Exit Through the Gift Shop feels dangerously close to the promotion of a cult--almost, dare one say it, of a brand.

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 104 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. Jan 25, 2011
    If the "Academy" were truly looking for the Best Picture, they would have to include this. It was better by far than any 2010 film I've seen,If the "Academy" were truly looking for the Best Picture, they would have to include this. It was better by far than any 2010 film I've seen, and yes that includes "Black Swan," "Inception," "Winter's Bone," "Social Network," and the way overrated "True Grit." Banksy's movie transcends the genre of documentary and lands in virtually unknown territory: factual, farcical, thought-provoking, and really damn entertaining. Is it a hoax? Possibly, but doesn't that only increase Banksy's brilliance? And if you're turned off by the later turn into absurd narrative and biting satire against the art community and popular culture, you can't argue with the first half which focuses almost exclusively on amazing street art sequences. I consider this alongside "Waltz with Bashir" as a documentary that blows all other docs out of the water. It is a total movie experience. Before seeing this I didn't know who Banksy was. One day later he's a personal hero. Full Review »
  2. tor
    Sep 10, 2010
    This movie is one for the ages. Absolutely brilliant at many levels. If you have any interest in art or culture or how these things areThis movie is one for the ages. Absolutely brilliant at many levels. If you have any interest in art or culture or how these things are defined and critiqued, this movie will make your head spin. The characters are completely unique, and there are dramatic twists that rival anything fiction writers have come up with in the past few decades. It's really better the less you know about it. Just plan on having coffee afterward; you will desperately want to discuss it. What is real and what is hype? Who gets to decide what is good art? Who is an artist? These questions are confronted in a bizarre and ingenious "plot." You may also be aware of a sidebar about the movie itself: Is it real or is it staged? In my opinion, it hardly matters. Just let it unfold and have fun. Full Review »
  3. Mar 26, 2013
    Perhaps the one of the best documentary/mockumentary to appear in the past decade, excuse the slash, because it is quite hard to tell if thisPerhaps the one of the best documentary/mockumentary to appear in the past decade, excuse the slash, because it is quite hard to tell if this is real or not, either way it is a truly fascinating look at the underworld art of the street, you may know it as graffiti.
    Infamous street artist Banksy has created this little film using footage of amateur (in every sense of the word) filmmaker Thierry Guetta, who spends most of his life with a camera in his hands. After beginning to follow his street artist cousin Invader around, Thierry is soon introduced to some of the most well-known artists in the world, including famous OBEY artist Shepard Fairey, who seems a bit disillusioned to Guetta, yet continues to let him follow him anyway.
    Guetta finally makes acquaintances with Banksy, who is surprised by Guetta's loyalty and persistent nature.
    As Banksy's hidden and hooded figure speaks to the camera, he does say that he places full trust in Guetta, particularly after a controversial piece of art at Disneyland involving a blow up doll.
    The film is one of the funniest things to witness, Thierry Guetta sort of seems like a lucky guy falling into the right places at the right time, he never shows much intelligence in what he does, never asking pressing questions but silly ones instead, and if this truly was a true documentary, then I'm sure the artists involved also don't quite know what to make of him, Banksy opening the film by saying that it started as a film about him but this guy was much more interesting was hilarious because perhaps its true, he is seemingly an overnight sensation by using other artist's work and throwing dashes of paint and photoshopped wigs on them to pass them off as his own. He did, however, incorporate the name of Mister Brainwash, so perhaps this was just utter genius, selling over one million dollars worth of art, yet barely taking part in any of the work itself.
    This is a very simple and witty take on a "legally grey area" of art, and just some of Banksy's art is showcased and we get a glimpse of just how talented this man is, and the risks that himself and other street artists take to evade the law in the name of beauty.
    Whether it was real or not, Exit Through the Gift Shop is certainly a must see for art and documentary fans alike, Mister Brainwash is certainly an enigma, but perhaps one that wasn't supposed to happen.
    Full Review »