This essay seeks to analyze and look into the various aspects of the film Exit Through the Gift Shop by Banksy. This film has attracted many reviews and critics from all over the world. However, it still stands out as one of the most charming films of the year. This essay seeks to give a critically analysis of the film.

Overview of the Film

Exit Through the Gift Shop is a very interesting and unique film that tells of a story about an immigrant. The immigrant in this film is from Los Angeles, is obsessed with street art, and has a strange habit of carrying his camera all the time and taking pictures of all his surroundings. The big question is what is art? Is it possible to get a definite answer? Finding the answer to this question is as hard as climbing a hill which has different avenues of exploration. The exploration of these questions would only lead us back to other questions. This film helps lift the lid off the surface and tackle the question exposed by it. Exit Through the Gift Shop raises even more questions as the plot progresses. Was this movie a fiction or was it a real-life story?  What was the idea behind filming of this movie? Was it to commercialize street art or bring people’s attention to the existence of street art? This only creates room for argument and compelling discussions on the various aspects of the film. In this film, the street art seems to carry more weight and importance than art in itself. Art is an avenue by which most artists get recognition and make a name for themselves. However, does the repeated posting of something form an expression of art? Does destroying a property to get artist recognition qualify as art? In this film, Bansky defends street art by suggesting that good art does not require spending money or that spending money does not make good art. According to the film, art is the creation of uniqueness out of simplicity. This is a very important aspect in the artistic world. However, does this mean that art created from expensive material is less artistic? This is because street artists destroy property and vandalize buildings in order to create a name for them. In this case, should there be a rule in the artistic world?  This simply means that art allows the law to be broken in order to bring life through art.

 The rhetorical context of this film is as mentioned above. The law has to be broken in order to bring forth life. The rhetoric question would be, is street art better than other forms of art that are law abiding? It is important to note that a genuine or unique piece of art has the material element and becomes more relevant as time passes by. In this film, one has to wonder if street art will still be relevant and consist of material elements. The art can live on the street walls for a long time, but will anyone care to look its way or pay any attention to it in many years to come? In two or three years, the value of street art will most probably lose its appeal. In this case, it is prudent to conclude that street art can and will give the artist a name but its value will diminish with time. Real art must be created in a way that will allow it to cross over to generations and not diminish over the years. An artist is judged by his artistic work and the techniques used in the creation of the artistic work. Many critics suggest that street art has no history and no future and that real art should lead and allow many other people to discover and study it. This in many ways is very true. When people look at a work of art, they should be able to discover and study many different aspects at the same time. In this film, the director has made the artist and his work the subject of criticism.

The beauty of art is that it is universal and in order to understand art, the world must connect with the artist’s ability to unite people with his creation. The movie Exit Through the Gift Shop is a very exciting and interesting picture. It can also be categorized as a piece of art by itself. This is because, as compared to art, the movie can be studied and appreciated in many generations to come. The diversity and beauty in this movie truly makes real art.

Strategies Employed

Banksy uses the authenticity strategy in the film. According to Rebecca Erickson, a socialist, “a work of art is in itself authentic because of its entire self-definition; it is understood to exist wholly by the laws of its own being’’ (Erickson, p. 124). Authenticity finds its roots in academic and classic fields. However, in the recent times authenticity has been influenced by many different factors, such as culture. The perspective used by Banksy in the film contributes to the discussion about authenticity and art. The film focuses on Guetta’s entry into the street artwork. As the film progresses, the inautheticity of the art created by Guetta is revealed by Banksy. This does not mean that the street art in the film is not authentic. On the contrary, the street art in the film seems to be authentic. The most exciting thing about this film is that it involves real life stories of street artists. One of the street artists at the beginning of the film is Bansky’s cousin who is also known as the “space invader’’. The film brings out the concept of the artist’s true self-expression, which is authentic in Bansky’s perspective. Thus, this strategy is very successful in the film.

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The other strategy that has been used by the director of this film is the entertainment strategy. This film is very entertaining as well as informative. Some reviewers have suggested that the film is not only elaborate but entertaining as well. However, the problem arises in differentiating between authenticity and entertainment. According to Barry Grant, “the question of the performative has always escaped in the basics of documentary. Traditional wisdom dictates that one should not phase or mimic reality; as an alternative the documentary film maker is supposed to capture it” (p. 429). This means that people prefer a film that captures reality authentically as opposed to the one that imitates it. It is clear that in this film there are a few hints of artificial or perhaps coincidental imitations of reality. This greatly affects the entertaining aspect in the film. Banksy has vowed that this film is based on true stories and that it is not a fake, but the authenticity is still questionable. In order to influence the place value, Banksy brings out a complicated hoax, which does not only add value to the objects in the film, but also makes the film more exciting and entertaining. In one of the interviews by Bansky, he states that he does not think Thierry played or acted according to the rules, in various ways but then it is clear that  …existence of such rules is not a must. The author also states that he does not really know or understand the basis of morals. This means that if the author used to encourage everyone he came across to make art because he thought that everyone should do it. He has changed and does not have any reason to do this anymore. This simply means that the standards of modern art evaluation have encouraged people such as Guetta through motivation and creativity to rise up quickly even though their art is not in any way authentic. However, this aspect has very serious effects that affect other artists’ livelihoods. This is because genuineness is a very significant part of a work of art and should not be seen otherwise.

Use of Strategies that Cross over in the Film

 In this particular film, Bansky uses striking stencil features, humorous images and slogans to bring out entertainment in the film. In an interview, when Bansky was asked what techniques he uses to bring out the desired results, Bansky stated, “I use whatever it takes. Sometimes that just means drawing a moustache in a girls face on some billboards, sometimes that means sweating for days over an intricate drawing. Efficiency is the key’’. In his book, Wall and Piece, he says that it took him more time to finish the art, as compared to his other works. In order to speed up the process, he used overlapping of the color and intricate stencils.  These techniques bring out different effects in the film. The use of other strategies such as diction, persons, live voices, and other structures has been employed by the director to convey and illustrate the author’s ideas. This movie is very fascinating because of the structure and creation used in it.

Review of the Film Exit Through a Gift Shop

Many critics see this film as a gateway to expose street art by the author. The big question that the film raised was whether it was real or a hoax. However, most people do not really care if the film was a hoax or real, as long as it was really fascinating and interesting. Banksy does not reveal all but conceals a few aspects in order to ring a bell on Thierry Guetta’s amateur documentation. This means that this film might have been produced to convince the audience that the author was actually playing right. He was able to capture luminaries on his rooftop under the cover of the nights. The film is sensational, since the author uses stencil images and other artistic techniques. Everyone who has watched this film has vouched it as a picture that sounds real but holds conspiracy. However, Banksy insists that the film is not a fake. He explains that the film is very real from the footage and that it was impossible for him to write a script that was so funny. This film is definitely a stretch in the author’s directorial debut (Odlas, 2010).


This essay has taken a head-on approach to the rhetorical content of the film Exit Through the Gift Shop. The essay has outlined and expounded on the rhetoric situation of the film and exposed its interesting and fake aspects.

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