Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

 

directed by Banksy
U.K. 2010

 

Introduction:
Exit Through the Gift Shop premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, where it was an audience favorite.  It opened in theatres to universal acclaim (97% on Rotten Tomatoes) and went on to become one of the highest grossing documentaries of the year. 

Exit Through the Gift Shop is the inside story of street art - a chaotic brew of illegal self-expression that exploded into a global phenomenon at the turn of this century - and what happened when an eccentric shopkeeper-turned-amateur filmmaker named Thierry Guetta set out to produce the ultimate documentary on the art form. After spending five years videotaping many of the world’s most infamous vandals at work, he met Banksy, a camera shy British stencil artist who felt Guetta himself would make a more fitting subject for a documentary.

Turning the camera back on its owner with wildly unexpected results, Exit Through the Gift Shop reveals what happens when fame, money and vandalism collide. One of the most provocative films about art ever made, Banksy tells the incredible true story of what happened when Guetta  transformed himself into street art sensation Mr. Brainwash. By turns surprising, hilarious and absurd, this is an enthralling modern-day fairytale... with bolt cutters.

The Movie: 8
While the documentary clearly states up front “A Banksy film” it is not so clear who the director or writer is, if indeed there is a director or writer as such. My suspicion is that that it is pretty much the work of the producer, Jamie D’Cruz and the editors, Chris King and Tom Fulford, based on what they were able to glean from some 10,0000 hours of Guetta’s tapes and from the interviews they themselves conducted and that are edited into the movie.

Oscilloscope’s DVD of Exit Through the Gift Shop works on a number of levels: The box itself is a minor work of art and includes some fun inserts. The feature documentary is something of a biopic about a compulsive videotape photographer. A dispassionate Rhys Ivans (Notting Hill, Pirate Radio) narrates the story of Thierry Guetta, a French ex-patriot living in Los Angeles with his wife and young children in the 1990s. Thierry, who prefers the anglicized “Terry” (our first clue) and whom Roger Ebert describes as “a combination TV pitchman, a cartoon Frenchman and a chatty con man” films everything, as if walking about life with a camera stuck on his face. What is fascinating about this behavior besides the obvious is that Guetta doesn’t watch anything he shoots, he simply stores endless numbers of tapes, many labeled with scarcely enough information to describe the gist of its contents, if that.

Like the encyclopedia-writing infinite number of monkeys, Guetta stumbles into L.A.’s developing graffiti artistic vandals. He follows them about, some more than others, like “Space Invader” and the soon to famous Shepard Fairey. The more he learns about the phenomenon, the more he obsesses about the one artist missing from his catalogue, the brilliant and secretive “Banksy”. When Banksy visits L.A., Guetta finds his way to him quite by chance and soon makes himself indispensable, showing him the “best walls” in town to display his work.

Banksy suggests to Thierry the idea that he make a documentary from his many tapes about the growth of street art. Cut to six months later, Thierry shows Banksy what he’s got, which he titles “Life Remote Control”. Banksy feels there is no movie there at all and suggests to Thierry he leave his tapes with him, along with his movie, and tells him to return home and make some art of his own. Voila! “Mr Brainwash” or “MBW,” Thierry’s new moniker.

How Guetta’s trajectory as an artist and Banksy’s rising fame came together, rather subversively, explosively one might say, dramatizes an important and rarely met question: What is good art? After all, those who can, and many who cannot but do anyway, spend small fortunes to own a piece of what comes to be universally acknowledged as good art -or, at least, art that is deemed valuable and therefore worth owning. When is good taste merely fashion? And when is fashion the result of mass hysteria? Can the art world be tricked into seeing something as important when it is merely undercooked, regardless of endorsements? If these questions intrigue, or even if they don’t you should see Banksy’s first film, Exit Through the Gift Shop. You’ll never look at art the same way again.

Leonard Norwitz
LensViews
December 8th,, 2010

Theatrical Release: January 24th, 2010 - Sundance Film Festival

Reviews        More Reviews       DVD Reviews

Comparison: 

Oscilloscope Laboratories - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Revolver Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray vs. Oscilloscope Laboratories - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

1) Oscilloscope Laboratories - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT

2) Revolver Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Oscilloscope Laboratories - Region FREE - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

DVD Box Cover

 

Distribution

Oscilloscope Laboratories

Region 1 - NTSC

Revolver Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray Oscilloscope Laboratories - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:26:09 1:26:05.160 1:26:18.840
Video

1.78:1 Open Matte format

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.99 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,703,523,027 bytes

Feature:  22,813,925,376 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Bitrate: 31.18 Mbps

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,964,865,780 bytes

Feature: 20,976,322,560 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Bitrate: 24.97 Mbps

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate: DVD

Bitrate Revolver Blu-ray

Bitrate Oscilloscope  Blu-ray

Audio English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Digital 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio English 2381 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2381 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit / DN -4dB) DTS-HD Master Audio English 3884 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3884 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1635 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1635 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 320 kbps / 24-bit)
Subtitles English SDH, and none None English, English (SDH), and none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Oscilloscope Laboratories

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• More brainwashing (5:25)
• A star is born (7:07)
• Life Remote Control (15:00)
• B Movie (13:35)

(Package as seen below)

DVD Release Date: December 14th, 2010
Custom fold out

Chapters 10

Release Information:
Studio:
Revolver Entertainment

 

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,703,523,027 bytes

Feature:  22,813,925,376 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Bitrate: 31.18 Mbps

 

Edition Details:
• More brainwashing (5:25)
• A star is born (7:07)
• Life Remote Control (15:00)
• B Movie (13:35)

(similar stickers, glasses etc. to the Oscilloscope)

Blu-ray Release Date: September 6th, 2010
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 9

Release Information:
Studio: Oscilloscope Laboratories

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,964,865,780 bytes

Feature: 20,976,322,560 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Bitrate: 24.97 Mbps

 

Edition Details:
• More brainwashing (5:16 in 480i)
• A Star is born (7:07 in 480i)
• Life Remote Control (15:03 in 480i)
• B Movie (13:36 in 480i)

DVD of the film

(Package as seen below)

Blu-ray Release Date: March 8th, 201
1
Custom fold out (very similar to below)

Chapters 9

 

Oscilloscope package

 

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Oscilloscope Laboratories - Region FREE Blu-ray - March 2011': Despite the differences in the technical stats I can't determine any strong disparity between the two 1080P visuals. Both support, roughly, the same color, contrast and detail. This is true of the audio as well with Oscilloscope getting a marginal edge in that category.  One area it is notably 'improved' is that it offers both optional English or English (SDH) subtitles where the Revolver (UK) edition has none. All the Blu-ray digital extras from both the DVD and previous Blu-ray are present and the disc is also region FREE. Oscilloscope offer a cool package that includes the glasses, post cards, sticker and also adds the previous SD-DVD edition of the feature film already reviewed.

Gary W. Tooze

Update- Oscilloscope Blu-ray:

Exit Through the Gift Shop the 2010 Oscar-nominated documentary, now finds itself in the enviable position of being available on Blu-ray (and DVD) supplied by two different studios: Revolver Entertainment in the U.K. and Oscilloscope in North America. Except that Oscilloscope retains its wonderful box art that it had for its DVD (as opposed to Revolver’s routine plastic case) there is little to distinguish the two in respect to Image. The Audio is another story. Oscilloscope's DVD Dolby Digital 2.0 was to be preferred over the 5.1 mix. For the U.K. Blu-ray, Revolver made the mistake of not offering the 2.0 in any form. Cheers to Oscilloscope for giving us the 2.0 mix in DTS-HD MA for their Blu-ray. How much you appreciate the upgrade, most noticeable in the music and accompanying effects, will depend on how good your audio system is.

  - Leonard Norwitz

 

***

ADDITION: Revolver Entertainment - Region FREE Blu-ray - December 2010': Leonard has already talked extensively about the film and production image quality. The 1080P transfer doesn't extensively benefit the visuals excepting in two areas - the colors are definitely richer (ex. see the painted elephant screen capture) and the stills that are injected into Exit Through the Gift Shop - mostly at the beginning (see very bottom Blu-ray captures). With the entire film itself is culled from many sources including cell-phone video - the quality is all over the board and probably not the number one reason to indulge in the Blu-ray. The same is true of the audio (see Leonard's comments below) and the supplements are duplicated (ditto for the menu) and the accoutrement extras. NOTE: All the Blu-ray digital extras played on my Region FREE-locked Oppo player - indicating the disc is region FREE.

Those keen to purchase should probably buy the cheapest version dependant on the geographic region in which they reside (take into account shipping). The Oscilloscope DVD is the most reasonable by a wide margin at the writing of this review (there is even a Canadian DVD that is close to double the cost).

Lastly, those keen on the politic of more 'time-honored' art may enjoy The Art of the Steal on DVD. 

Gary W. Tooze

***

On the Oscilloscope DVD package:

Image: 3~7/4~6
You must put out of your mind any hope of finding two consecutive minutes of high quality image in this film for the first half of the movie. While some of it is edited in from later interviews and footage by cameramen other than Guetta, the rest is made up of footage by a guy who, from the evidence, is not the most competent of photographers. Fortunately, technology corrects many of our mistakes, the result being better than could have been hoped for or predicted, especially considering shooting conditions. That said, even if the raw footage were brilliant I think it would have been difficult to stifle the impulse to make it otherwise just because the subject is what it is: hit and run, outlaw stuff, much of it shot at night. Most of the interview footage looks good and once Guetta gives up the camera to make an artist of himself, the film starts to look quite decent, now being shot by serious photographers.

There is one thing that drove me a little crazy, and it will be interesting to see how, if at all, this is addressed in the U.K. Blu-ray which I shall review in a couple weeks. Some of Guetta’s footage, both in the main documentary and the Extra Features, is stretched to fill a 16x9 screen from a narrower aspect ratio, perhaps 1.66:1. That may not seem like much of a stretch, but once, and if, you see it, it’s hard not to be rankled by it. There are a number of unnecessarily fat people and flattened circles in this movie.

Audio & Music: 5~7/8
In stark contrast to the image quality, the audio is, for the most part, quite good. Oscilloscope supplies both 5.1 and 2.0 Dolby Digital, the latter - no surprise - to be preferred for clarity and crispness. My personal feeling is that it is wrongheaded to try to create a 5.1 mix for a movie that was never intended to have one and for which it makes no artistic sense. I feel it’s a kind of sellout to the same mentality that needs to have their widescreen filled regardless of content. Moving right along, dialogue is always clear except during Guetta’s own footage at night, but that’s to be expected without the use of a competent remote mike. Geoff Barrow’s excellent and punchy music helps make the entire film hang together. Prerecorded material from other artists is also dialed into the mix with respectable results.

Extras: 6
Oscilloscope includes a number of extra features: five deleted scenes totaling some five and a half minutes grouped together in the segment titled “More Brainwash;” a 7-minute peek at one of Banksy’s shows, the “Cans Festival” in “A Star is Born.” In “Life Remote Control” the editor presents all of what he felt was worth saving from Thierry own 90-minute film that never came about - only 15 minutes. The most absorbing segment is titled “B Movie”: a 13-minute piece on Bansky himself, revealing nothing about his identity, but a great deal about the dazzling and relentlessly creative career of this most gifted artist. A must-see.

Recommendation: 9
Despite my reservations about the image, and the choice, whether it be during the transfer or in the source material, to stretch the image in some places rather than simply change aspect ratios or perform modest cropping, I want to give this DVD a strong recommendation for content and presentation. The movie and one or two of the bonus features are relentlessly entertaining and intriguing. The documentary put a permanent smile on my face, while the B Movie tried to manage the smile simultaneously with a jaw in drop mode.

One more word about the packaging: When I first opened Oscilloscope’s box, I sighed for how much we who have embraced the high definition format have been cheated. Oscilloscope may win my vote for the best packaging of a single disc for a DVD this year. Sensible, artistic, useful, safe, secure. And they throw in a couple of cute inserts and artsy postcards, plus the amazing 2D glasses - about which, to say anything more would defeat the purpose. Just now, Amazon is offering this title for better than 50% off on Pre-Order.

  - Leonard Norwitz

 


Menus

 

Oscilloscope Laboratories - Region 1 - NTSC and Region FREE Blu-ray LEFT vs. Revolver Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray RIGHT
 

 

Same extras on all 3 editions:

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Oscilloscope Laboratories - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Revolver Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Oscilloscope Laboratories - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Oscilloscope Laboratories - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Revolver Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Oscilloscope Laboratories - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


Oscilloscope Laboratories - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Revolver Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


Oscilloscope Laboratories - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Revolver Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


Oscilloscope Laboratories - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Revolver Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


Oscilloscope Laboratories - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Revolver Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


  Oscilloscope Laboratories - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Revolver Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures


DVD Box Cover

 

Distribution

Oscilloscope Laboratories

Region 1 - NTSC

Revolver Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray Oscilloscope Laboratories - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 




Search DVDBeaver
S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

Hit Counter

 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

Mail cheques, money orders, cash to:    or CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Thank You!