(the original version of this review first appeared on In Place of Real Insight)
A documentary (maybe) that has achieved cult like status through word of mouth and a good press junket, but does it really live up to the hype?
What starts as a documentary(?????) about criminals….I mean the underground world of street art turns into a documentary(?????) about one man’s obsession with film, turn obsession with street art, turn overnight street art sensation. The films main subjects are Thierry Guetta and his camera to which he takes with him everywhere. A casual obsession with filming literally everything turns into an obsession with filming street artists as they work the streets. His early filming is of his street art cousin who goes by the name of Invader (based on his use of Space Invader images in his art) and soon he is introduced to other street artists that he ends up filming. After spending lots of time out in the streets with the artist he becomes obsessed with filming the ever elusive and famous artist known as Banksy.
At this point the film shifts from a portrait of the street art scene to a tale of Thierry Guetta and his quest to become a relevant part of the scene. What is odd is that instead of putting his time in on the streets he decides to put all of his money into a grandiose art show to display his “questionable” talents. His idea of art is to just “recreate” art that has already been done, which to some (including myself) think is pretty lazy and unartistic.
In the end it was a decent film but not worthy of a re watch as even the best documentaries are rarely worthy of a re-watch. The guerilla methods come off as plotted and contrived, not spontaneous as they might have you think. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out in a few years that this whole movie was a hoax put on by notorious street artist and director of this film Banksy.