By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –
This documentary is not quite like any documentary you’ve ever seen before. For most people, that’s a good thing. The subject is the underground street art world and is directed by and heavily features its rock star, Banksy.
It does a good job of opening this world up a bit, and it does have some stunning visuals, especially Banksy’s West Bank Wall project, which features some heartbreaking social commentary.
This film really hits its stride when our supposed cinematographer, a quirky Frenchman who is trying to make a documentary about street art, decides to try to make some art himself after some street artists begin to cash in big.
This is where the film turns into a kind of Borat for the arthouse crowd, as our Frenchman, now using the moniker “Mr. BrainWash” starts putting together a massive art show when he finds that all you really need to make art is a decent budget, some starving art students hired at cut-rate prices, and photoshop. You’ll have to see for yourself how his show turns out, but in the end it plays like clever satire prompting you to ask the big questions about art, such as ‘What is art?”, and after all is said and done “Is art a bit of a joke?”
You will probably find yourself asking if this is true or just a big scripted stunt and the film offers no answers there, although I’m inclined to believe it’s a bit of both. Your growing realization of the hood being pulled over your eyes is pretty annoying, but don’t drink a beer to that because the payoff is worth it. What you do need to do is take a nip whenever Bansky blatantly slaps himself on the back. Lines along the lines of “street art was the biggest counterculture trend since punk” and “I’m as good as Banksy” abound.
Watch it. It’ll entertain you and get you asking some very interesting questions about the entire concept of art, as long as you can ignore the ego-trip that comes with it.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a drink: every time Banksy pats himself on the back
Take a drink: every time somebody makes a piece of street art
Drink a shot: every time somebody complements Mr. Brainwash