EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP ****1/2
What to make of this remarkable movie? Well, what to make of Banksy, the graffiti / street artist who made this most incredibly entertaining, illuminating, and, more than anything, hysterically funny documentary? Or is it a piece of art, a hoax? Is it simply a continuum of this most remarkable of artists? Does it exist? Actually, it most surely does, and the swirls of “hoax”-driven speculation can easily be answered through the internet and the fact that there is existing evidence of the events depicted in the film taking place. But those events are mind-boggling! The fact that they actually happened are astounding! Roll up, roll up, for a film that takes your perceived notions of everyday life and squeezes them so finely through a skewer of eccentricity, talent, and the hazy, crazy world of capital “A” Art – and, in particular, the consumers of such. To explain that happens in this film would be to rob it of its grandeur – and trust me, it has grandeur, grandeur to boot. I have never seen a film like this. See it immediately – it will be the talking point of the next six parties you go to.
ROCKET SCIENCE ***
Jeffrey Blitz’s charming, low-key fictional feature follow-up to his gorgeous feature-length documentary Spellbound (about the national Spelling Bee circuit in the USA) has taken three long years to reach Australian screens. Once again, Blitz is concerned with schools and words, here creating a small, very charming tale around the intensity of high-school debating. I suspect the film took so long to arrive in Australia because the subject matter was considered marginal at best; I was a high-school debater – indeed, a next-to State Champion – and I couldn’t wait. The film is lovely, extremely well acted by the amazing Anna Kendrick (Up In The Air, Camp) and newcomer Nicholas D’Agosto, who, I promise, will be the next Jonathan Schwartz. It is also very, very funny for its first two thirds; the last third, unfortunately, is not funny at all, and becomes mawkish and slow. If you were ever a high school debater – or even on the high school chess team, bridge team, or other geek team – this is probably the film for you, but if not, it’s lovely and loving without being truly wonderful. That said, there is no doubt that Jeff Blitz has the potential to be the 2000s John Hughes – in fact, it’s obvious he’s on his way. See it quick if you want to see it, as it’s in very limited release nationwide.