First off, if you haven’t seen this yet, this is gonna contain spoilers. Second; I don’t know if that’ll necessarily ruin the movie for you, though.
So. I’ve been sitting on this movie for I don’t know how long, which is kinda weird because I was so hyped up to see it when I first heard about it and couldn’t wait to see it. Then, after a few folks I know that actually still go to a theater to see movies gave some quick review/reactions, I became a lot less interested. Now with everyone seeing the flick on DVD or streamed, I’ve been reminded that I needed to see it. So I did.
I’m sure, like most of you out there, we all thought that when a Banksy movie was being put out, it was gonna be about Banksy. The good news is obviously that the movie does have a ton of cool footage in it, with all sorts of street artists, and shows some street action that most folks would never have the opportunity to see without a film like this. And yes, we get to see Banksy in action, along with that Obey dude, Space Invader, Buffmonster, and a bunch of other wheatpasters and stencil freaks.
But, the movie is almost two movies in one. One part, is more of a sub-plot, which is the cool, documentary about the street art movement and it’s most prolific architects. The other, is a documentary about a dumbass (or insanely smart retard) who learns to exploit each of the people that learned to trust him, and then take advantage of the moronically fickle art world. The movie does an excellent job of bringin us viewers in to meet the ‘star’ of the movie slowly. By that I mean that Thierry Guetta is introduced as he was accepted by the artists back when they initially met him. There isn’t a negative picture painted about him. He’s basically a nut with a camera who befriended the artists and followed them around while filming. From there we’re gradually brought up to date, being shown the history up until the climax, which is the transformation of this random camera hobbyist into a full blown ‘artist’. The word artist is surrounded in apostrophe because Thierry Guetta isn’t really an artist. He’s the perfect example of what a real artist isn’t. We’re shown how Thierry burrows his way into the underground street art movement and learns the secrets from some of the heaviest hitters in the game. Then his evolution into participant and finally how he convinces himself (and others) that he’s an artist genius that deserves critical acclaim with a ‘better than Banksy’ solo show.
His story and this movie’s success is so awesome because it documents how retarded the art world really is. It exposes how ridiculous the art buyers are and how the price of artwork in no way reflects the quality of the piece. Thierry Guetta aka Mr. Brainwash (MBW) ends up being an art world success selling over a million dollars worth of art. His ‘art’ show draws crowds of thousands and runs for over two months. All the while, Mr. Brainwash is really just a project manager (at best), who has learned from others’ success, how to market* to the masses. *actually this is mostly done for him by a paid group of promoters.
So…the movie is both cool and frustrating. Seeing this dude rocket into riches overnight can only be met with laughter (angry jealous laughter…hehehe). For the real artists of the world that put in work and steer clear of manufacturing themselves, it’s a reminder that it’s not about talent, it’s about who you know. On the cool side; it was great to see the industry exposed, while also documenting so much of the street art movements’ foundation. Oscar worthy? I wouldn’t know. The Oscar’s aren’t something I’ve paid any attention to since I was able to be the one in charge of the remote.
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