Any documentary can point a camera at a talking head while they spout off and then find shots to match. A great documentary has that mix of skill and good fortune to obtain really special footage the likes of which we don't see every day. Banksy's Exit Through the Gift Shop expertly assembles amazingly intimate behind the scenes video that shows the birth of an art movement and how it is absorbed into the artistic establishment. In addition to this, it boasts the greatest collection of real life characters since King of Kong, focused primarily on the mysterious street art sensation Banksy and the this-guy-can't-be-for-real eccentric French art poseur, Thierry Guetta.
A great documentary, or for that matter a great movie of any kind, needs to present the viewer with a perspective they've never known before. Exit Through the Gift Shop is able to take a subject we know only in broad strokes, the world of modern art, and make us feel like an insider. By the end, Banksy manages to not only get the viewer to understand this insular society of artists, but to share in their outrage at seeing mediocrity passed off for genius. All this while crafting one of the most purely entertaining movies of 2010 and my favorite documentary since 2008's Man on Wire. Exit Through the Gift Shop is a special film.
Previously on the Countdown
08 - Louis CK - Hilarious
09 - Somewhere
10 - Blue Valentine