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.
Owen Gleiberman - Entertainment Weekly
Exit could be a new subgenre: the prankumentary.
Jeannette Catsoulis - New York Times
Exit Through the Gift Shop offers an absorbing glimpse of a bracingly subversive slice of the culture, as well as some tantalizing images of Banksy at work.
Ann Hornaday - Washington Post
One of the best, most karmically satisfying comedies of the year, much to the chagrin of the people who are in it.
Ty Burr - Boston Globe
A genuinely hip, thought-provoking work of art disguised as a doomed documentary resurrected.
Aaron Hillis - Village Voice
Droll, aerosol-thin and ultrameta, a movie about a movie that supposedly was but actually wasn't being made about Banksy by his amiably bonkers Boswell, a compulsive French videographer named Thierry Guetta.
Joe Morgenstern - Wall Street Journal
Like Banksy's best street work, it pushes and prods our gullibility buttons and sends the mind swirling with questions of artistic authenticity and intent.
Chris Vognar - Dallas Morning News
Exit Through the Gift Shop feels dangerously close to the promotion of a cult -- almost, dare one say it, of a brand.
Anthony Lane - New Yorker
The widespread speculation that Exit Through the Gift Shop is a hoax only adds to its fascination.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
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.
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
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.
J. R. Jones - Chicago Reader
This initiates a role reversal in which documentarian becomes artist and vice versa.
Carrie Rickey - Philadelphia Inquirer
Exit Through the Gift Shop, credited as "A Banksy Film," poses some bitingly funny questions about the meaning and value of art. Is it in the eye of the beholder? Is it truth plus beauty? Anything you can get away with? Brainwashing?
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
Hoax or not, Exit Through the Gift Shop ends up energizing, aggravating, enjoyable and revealing. Is it art or isn't it? Who knows? Apparently no one.
Tom Long - Detroit News
The plain fact is that, on some level, it doesn't matter whether the film is true or not. Either way, it's fascinating. Either way, we learn a lot. Either way, it's a great film.
Richard Nilsen - Arizona Republic
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.
Peter Debruge - Variety
Banksy makes an appealing narrator with a deft grasp of the questions raised.
Kyle Smith - New York Post
We don't learn that much about Banksy, other than he's a lot more meticulous than his street warrior image would suggest.
Peter Howell - Toronto Star
It's a rueful, comic exploration of what happens when artists like Banksy and his friend Shepard Fairey see their own weapons used against them.
Andrew O'Hehir - Salon.com
The film is a curiosity. It's both an attempted documentary of an artistic movement and a bemused examination about why the movie failed in that mission.
David Germain - Associated Press
A documentary on the art world may strike you as a yawn. No worries. You'll be laughing helplessly at this one.
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
For the more you think about this unusual film, the more fascinating it becomes culturally and sociologically, dealing with notions of mania and obsession, art and commerce, hype and quality.
Kenneth Turan - Los Angeles Times
The characters are as compelling as you will see in anything else. Banksy is his own antihero of the film, and Guetta is fascinating to watch in his obsessive glory.
Kevin Carr - 7M Pictures
Banksy exposes the con-job that is modern art for what it is.
Roger Moore - Movie Nation
Whatever your view of Britain's most famous street artist, prepare to be teased, provoked and possibly enraged by the release of his first movie.
Jason Best - Movie Talk
Just as clever as the work of Sasha Baron Cohen, but not nearly as culturally worthwhile because it is not nearly as politically candid.
Dan Jardine - Cinemania
Ben Kenigsberg - Time Out
An irritatingly misguided and pointless piece of work...
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews
Too ironic by half, this film is hobbled most of all by principal Thierry Guetta, that I find insufferably banal. As a satire on a market-driven art world, it is fairly toothless. Why it has garnered rave reviews is the biggest puzzle of all.
Louis Proyect - rec.arts.movies.reviews
Energetic, exciting, entertaining, and at times illegal, Exit Through The Gift Shop is a wicked treat.
Drew McWeeny - HitFix
Those tricky questions that lie in the chasm between art and commerce are raised naturally through the progression of the narrative, whether that narrative is partially fabricated or not.
Eric Melin - Scene-Stealers.com
Curious docu about street artists with some strong language.
S. Jhoanna Robledo - Common Sense Media
Since virtually anything can be considered art, the term has become virtually meaningless. This documentary proves it.
Robert Roten - Laramie Movie Scope
The behind-the-scenes insight into the techniques of illegal street art is fascinating, as is the art-market critique..
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Illustrates how our insistence and abilities in judging and evaluating art are often arbitrary, contradictory, and idiotic.
Jeffrey Chen - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
It's funny, playful, and intriguing in a way that makes me want to see it again.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Combustible Celluloid
After all those debates about the meaning of art ... [who] would have thought that the best and most incisive comments on the argument would have come from street-punk Banksy?
Simon Miraudo - Quickflix
Regardless of its motives, Gift Shop is a superb work, one that demands the audience ask questions that don't always go down easily...
Justin Strout - Orlando Weekly
A strange oxymoron of a film, like a straight-faced Spinal Tap or a Man On Wire for liars.
Matt Glasby - Flicks.co.nz
The street artist known as Banksy is witty, he's smart, he's subversive -- and he's compelling. So it stands to reason that the street-art doc he ostensibly hijacked would be all those things, too.
Mike Scott - Times-Picayune
Confused yet? Good. Banksy probably wants you exactly that way.
Kevin Kelly - Cinematical
A provocative and absorbing exploration of what constitutes art, the creative process and the power of hype to triumph over talent.
Rene Rodriguez - Miami Herald
Exit Through the Gift Shop is a film that needs to be seen to be disbelieved.
Alice Tynan - Concrete Playground
Either way [as documentary or hoax], the movie speaks the truth about the phoniness and self-adulation of the art world %u2014 which makes it not only fascinating but essential.
Sean Means - Salt Lake Tribune
Can we trust a director/tour guide who appears only in shadow with an electro-scrambled voice like one of those "60 Minutes" mob informant interviews? Yes!
Clint O'Connor - Cleveland Plain Dealer
The only thing that may keep "Exit Through the Gift Shop" from winning the Oscar next year for best documentary is that it may be totally untrue. Aside from that, it's a shoo-in.
Rob Thomas - Capital Times (Madison, WI)
Exit Through the Gift Shop is an exhilarating and bewildering experience but like the transient art form that it is expressing, that's sort of the point.
Thomas Caldwell - Cinema Autopsy
Is Exit Through the Gift Shop a real documentary or an expert hoax? Does it really matter as long as you're laughing and thinking?
Robert W. Butler - Kansas City Star
Is Banksy's film the next great thing in documentary filmmaking? Or are we all on the business end of an admittedly pretty good joke? You decide.
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Be it documentary or mockumentary, art of graffiti, there's no denying that Exit Through the Gift Shop is damn good cinema.
Anders Wotzke - Moviedex
Like the better pieces of the art it showcases, an oddity worth experiencing.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
...offers 90 minutes of pretty good entertainment. The fact that it may well be just one more stunt by an artist known for stunts doesn't detract in the least from the enjoyment.
Sarah Boslaugh - Playback:stl
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.
Marjorie Baumgarten - Austin Chronicle
The characters and events are extraordinary enough to keep you entertained with ironies and hypotheses.
Shawn Levy - Oregonian
Is he playing us? You bet. And quite beautifully. What's exquisite about this romp of a film is figuring out just how much of a mug he's making of us.
Mary Louise Schumacher - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
As the documentary morphs into a riddle about art in the marketplace, the eyes of the beholder get crossed, and the dizziness is part of the fun.
Joe Williams - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Real or manufactured, Banksy's film is a triumphant deconstruction of the commercial bastardization of art.
Mark Dujsik - Mark Reviews Movies
Either a postmodernist critique of mainstream art or the cheekiest promo flick ever made
Jeff Meyers - Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
It's a cynical statement, but a statement nonetheless.
Jim Slotek - Jam! Movies
Put-on, satire, mockumentary, goof? Whatever it is, "Exit Through the Gift Shop" is an original.
Peter Rainer - Christian Science Monitor
A treatise on Bad Art and a screed against tone-deaf patterns of consumption that drive trends in the art world.
Bryant Frazer - Bryant Frazer's Deep Focus
Even if you are not a fan of street art, this documentary will make you both laugh and teach you that original film making is still out there!
Kevin McCarthy - BDK Reviews
Exit Through the Gift Shop is inspiring, subversive and thrilling.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
Questions abound, but regardless of the verisimilitude of the film, it is highly entertaining.
Tony Medley - tonymedley.com
A.O. Scott - At the Movies
Legendary British graffiti artist Banksy raises a compelling question in his new film: is there a difference between real and perceived power?
Cynthia Fuchs - PopMatters
...begins with the documentary Banksy commissioned and ends like "The Rutles." It's not quite like anything you've ever seen before.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
Is "street art" art? Can anybody do it? These are some of the questions grappled with or at least entertained by "Exit Through the Gift Shop," an engagingly comical documentary supposedly directed by the acclaimed British street artist known as Banksy (I
James Verniere - Boston Herald
Exit Though the Gift Shop is a funny romp through the art world, and while I don't know if it's a bona fide documentary, I know what I like.
Gary Thompson - Philadelphia Daily News
Fascinating documentary, as far as it goes.
Kelly Vance - East Bay Express
Wholly unenlightening, perhaps even fearful of a discussion that might challenge the integrity of the art world since, as viewed in this picture, the participants seems very uncomfortable verbalizing anything more than their own mythmaking.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
Appearing hooded and shrouded in silhouette, his voice electronically altered, Banksy allows that his protege's art might be "a bit of a joke." Could the tale of Guetta -- now known as Mr. Brainwash -- be an elaborate hoax? I'm happy not to be sure.
Brett Michel - Boston Phoenix
Here comes a rich smell drawn from a load of bullsh-t.
Matthew Sorrento - Bright Lights Film Journal
With the release of this wild new documentary, "Exit Through the Gift Shop," you have to wonder how much longer Banksy can remain an art-world phantom.
Kurt Loder - MTV
The picture adapts a provocative conceit, one that melds its formal construction with the ideas at its core.
Robert Levin - Critic's Notebook
Wendy Ide - Times [UK]
It's a colorful cocktail of subversiveness, self-seriousness, wonder, horror and joy.
Jonathan Kiefer - Sacramento News & Review
The truth is often slippery, although no amount of signage should stop us from seeking it.
Stephanie Zacharek - Movieline
As entertaining as it is hard to believe.
Jason Anderson - eye WEEKLY
- National Post
A wildly entertaining, funny, suspenseful and invigorating documentary regardless of whether you're a fan of street art or not.
Avi Offer - NYC Movie Guru
Just as a permanent record of a remarkable artistic movement, Exit Through The Gift Shop is valuable. But there's more going on here.
Noel Murray - AV Club
What's the difference between a 14-year-old tagger and a hype monster spray-painting Campbell's soup cans? Nothing. But the gulf between them and Banksy is as wide as the Pacific
Amy Nicholson - I.E. Weekly
The mysterious Banksy makes his film debut with this provocative and entertaining look at the world of street artists and one very eccentric disciple.
Kevin Lally - Film Journal International
Outrageous and funny, cheaply shot but knowingly edited...Is it art? Who cares? It's definitely fascinating and engrossingly watchable.
Marshall Fine - Hollywood & Fine
An energetic, chaotic and thoroughly enjoyable look at a world of street art. And one hell of a prank, to boot.
Neil Miller - Film School Rejects
It is required viewing for all undergraduates and anyone who likes to roll up their sleeves and argue "what is art?" It is also smart enough to never look you dead in the eye and ask an idiotic question like "what is art?"
Jordan Hoffman - UGO
That rarest of art documentaries, one that actually leaves viewers with a better sense of the gifted versus the phony. In several senses, Banksy has created a monster.
Joshua Rothkopf - Time Out
When it comes to what Exit is selling, buyers beware.
Nick Schager - Slant Magazine
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.
It's very funny and offers an amusing take-down of the pretentiousness of the art world and the way that it can be corrupted and co-opted by big money.
Alistair Harkness - Scotsman
I've never been so pleasantly surprised.
Charlie Lyne - Ultra Culture
Banksy's debut film is poignant without pretentiousness.
Declan Tan - Little White Lies
It's a great insight into how Banksy and his ilk operate.
Robbie Collin - News of the World
This is a deadpan-rollicking film, helped by fizzy editing and funky visuals.
Nigel Andrews - Financial Times
This is splendid stuff, directed with verve and humour by Banksy who - aghast at Guetta's artistic triumph -- announces he will never make another art film. Shame.
Tim Evans - Sky Movies
Manages to be informative and very funny whilst making a genuine and intriguing point about the commercialisation of street art.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
Slick, sharp and fantastically entertaining, this is a film that works not just as a cautionary tale about the pitfalls of helping strangers but also on a deeper level as a crafty meditation on art, its true value and our own gullibility.
Damon Wise - Radio Times
Here I am giving Banksy the ultimate in undesired praise, a favourable review in the Left's most routinely reviled newspaper.
Christopher Tookey - Daily Mail [UK]
The sense of intrigue is unmistakable, and fortunately Exit, an odd, enfolded sort of documentary, delivers on all the build-up.
Anthony Quinn - Independent
If art-prankster Banksy's first film is a hoax, as it just might be, it's an extremely complex and clever one. With echoes of the Frankenstein story.
Nick Curtis - This is London
His film does not mark [Banksy] out as the new Spielberg. Yet it is funny, OK in technique and now and then spicily critical of the art world.
Derek Malcolm - This is London
The film is a rousing tribute to street art, a crafty autobiography and a cheeky comment on the bravado of artists, talented or otherwise, and the gullibility of their punters - us included.
Dave Calhoun - Time Out
He could be an important artist or just a silly fad - either way, in the street and with this film, he's providing pleasure while he lasts.
What's true? What's not? Is it a Banksy fabrication, a knowing stunt satirising the art world? Tellingly, there's no director credit. Whatever the truth, it's an amusing, curious documentary.
David Gritten - Daily Telegraph
Every bit as quirky, engaging and rebellious as the artwork it aims to celebrate. Sadly, it also shares graffiti's tendency to be energetic but scattergun and ephemeral.
Amber Wilkinson - Eye for Film
Weak production values don't matter in this fascinating look at the making of an art charlatan. Unwittingly, it seems, Banksy met and filmed his match.
David D'Arcy - Screen International