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Exit Through the Gift Shop
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • English Stereo
  • English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • B Movie - an exclusive film about the 'art' of Banksy
  • A Star is Born - a featurette covering Mr. Brain Wash's first installation
  • Life Remote Control (Lawyer's edit) - the movie that started it all, released for the first time
  • Deleted Scenes

Exit Through the Gift Shop


Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Banksy
2010 | 86 Minutes

Release Information
DVD | MSRP: $29.99 | Series: Oscilloscope Laboratories | Edition: #32
Oscilloscope Laboratories

Release Date: December 14, 2010
Review Date: December 14, 2010

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SYNOPSIS

The incredible true story of how the greatest graffiti movie of all time was never made...

EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP is a chaotic trip through low-level criminality, comradeship, and incompetence. By turns shocking, hilarious and absurd, this is an enthralling modern-day fairytale... with bolt cutters.

This is the inside story of Street Art-a brutal and revealing account of what happens when fame, money, and vandalism collide. EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP follows an eccentric shopkeeper turned amateur filmmaker as he attempts to capture many of the world's most infamous vandals on camera, only to have famed British stencil artist Banksy turn the camcorder back on its owner in one of the most provocative films about art ever made.

Discuss the film and DVD here   


PICTURE

Oscilloscope Laboratories presents Banksy’s Exit Through the Gift Shop on DVD in the aspect ratio of 1.78:1 on this dual-layer disc. The image has been enhanced for widescreen televisions.

The film looks to have been shot primarily in digital, jumping between what looks to be standard-definition and high-definition and the quality of the image can vary drastically. The standard definition material is fairly problematic, presenting an assortment of artifacts from jagged edges to noise. Blacks can look crushed and details get lost. Other segments on the other hand look much cleaner, presenting more details, and fewer compression artifacts. Colours do look pretty good throughout, though things can look under-saturated or blown out, depending on lighting condition or, I assume, the type of camera that was used to film. Ultimately the DVD’s presentation is limited by how the film was shot.

(This is being released on Blu-ray next year so I’ll be curious to see how much of a difference that makes considering it looks like the film was primarily filmed in standard-definition.)

7/10

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AUDIO

The DVD presents the film in stereo or in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround. I only watched the film with the 5.1 track, and considering how the film was made it does sound pretty good. The fronts handle most of the soundtrack, but music does appear in the back speakers, and this track does have an impressive amount of bass. Dialogue quality varies drastically, sounding clean and intelligible a majority of the time, but it can be hard to hear during some moments because of shooting conditions. Also there are times where a voice altering device is used (with Banksy anyways) which can make it hard to hear. Most of its issues have to do with the conditions of the shoot or the microphone on the camera, so the presentation here is about as good as one can expect.

7/10

SUPPLEMENTS

This is a rather fun DVD release though I wish there was more in the supplements.

First are 6-minutes worth of deleted scenes which concentrate on what turns out to be the film’s main subject, Thierry Guetta, whether it be getting stopped for “vandalism” or setting up his big art show. Some interesting and amusing material in here, though I can see why it would be left out, possibly bringing the rather energetic film to a stop if it was left in.

Life Remote Control (The Lawyer’s Edit) is a shortened 15-minute version of Guetta’s incomprehensible film about graffiti art. Based on the 15-minutes here I doubt I could stand the full 90-minute version. The editing is seizure inducing and obnoxious, but it’s still not without its charms, and may be worthwhile just for the “interviews” with Pedro Almodovar, or former Sex Pistols manager Malcom McLaren, or artist Ron English.

A Star is Born (MBW at Cans Festival) presents 7-minutes of footage of Guetta/Mr. Brain Wash at an underground art show, setting up and displaying his work, showing his “creative process”. It also gathers audience reactions, who seem rather thrilled with his work.

But the best supplement would probably have to be B Movie: A Film About Banksy, a 14-minute film about the artist, probably made up of excised footage from the main feature. Though I don’t want to spoil anything, if Exit Through the Gift Shop disappoints in maybe a minor way, it’s that it isn’t about what it originally suggests to be about, Banksy and graffiti art in general. Though this feature is still not the end-all-be-all on the subject, it’s a rather interesting and fairly humourous look at Banksy’s career and work through interviews with his friends and admirers (which includes the late Dennis Hopper.) There’s more footage of his work and how some of them have been preserved.

Oscilloscope Labs also include a few cool inserts, such as a pair of star shaped “2D glasses”, some postcards, and then decals.

In the end the supplements are slim and I think I was hoping for more. But it’s still a very fun release, and it was a joy to go through, keeping in spirit with the film.

6/10

CLOSING

There are questions as to whether the documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop is real or not (I feel it’s genuine,) but either way it’s an incredibly entertaining and smart film about art and the commercialization of it. It may also be the most scathing I’ve seen on the subject. Oscilloscope Laboratories delivers a fun DVD release for this unique film, and delivering a decent transfer despite the source materials. It comes with a very high recommendation.




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