On the surface is an average documentary. I believe the film makers did just enough to communicate their viewpoints regarding Banksy, graffiti and its place in todays world of fine art . To this end, this really is a thesis film, but falls under the genre of documentary.
This film is supportive of graffiti art and the artists who work has stemmed from this activity. This film glorifies the criminal nature of tagging (as adventure, which it is), and utilizes graffiti artists and their supporters for perspective - there is no meaningful counterpoint, which to most viewers really won't matter - Saving Banksy does a good job of presenting content in a convincing manner. Most people will agree with the points made, especially artists.
I actually (kinda) feel the same way about Banksy's art that I do about this film - His work is good bordering on great, and has an excellent balance of form and content. Banksy's public graffiti is well thought out, and can be analyzed/critiqued based upon artistic merit alone in a very deep and extended conversation. However, these qualities are just the beginning of the Banksy phenomenon. It's like when he completes a public work - those in that environment, at all levels, go absolutely bananas. An irrational freak-out fest ensues, and people go Way out of their way to complicate something that really isn't that significant in the grand scheme of things. However, this ends up being a wonderful metaphor for so many aspects of reality at this moment (currently 2018). People losing their minds over nothing, and making the simple very, very complicated. And you know that Banksy understands all this, and absolutely must love his injections of chaos into communities and the art world as a whole. To me, this is the brilliance of Banksy - not the work itself, but the reaction his art elicits.
So worth watching? Absolutely - a savvy viewer can read between the lines, and turn what really is a pretty average film into something memorable and compelling. But (by and large) this is a function of the content, and not inherent to the film making. This isn't necessarily a harsh critique; part of a film makers role is to know when to emphasize content, and when to get out of the way and allow the content to speak for itself. That would be the optimistic outlook on this film. The other side would be that this film had a chance to be truly special had the filmmakers emphasized the explosion that occurs when Banksy unleashes his creations on the public. In doing so the film could have asked more questions about what this all might mean, and (perhaps) attempt to define Banksy's historical context. But this is an opinion, and I will admit that maybe this film is better for allowing the viewer to formulate their own conclusions.
random observation (rant): One thing that can be gleaned from the interviews with graffiti artists in this film is that they (the people asked about Banksy), by and large, felt this film was about them - or (at least) that they are peers with Banksy. Don't get it mistaken, they aren't. I do think at least one of the artists really realized their significance with regard to Banksy (by the way he answered questions), and it is ironic, because their work might be the strongest (formally) in the entire film. But, my point would be that none of these artists interviewed are anywhere near Banksy in terms of relevance - Banksy has few peers in todays world of fine art. He is not merely a graffiti artist, he is utilizing the painting sub-genre tactically, brilliantly.
average film, marked up for fascinating nature of content: 7/10
Internationally known graffiti artist, Banksy, left his mark on San Francisco in April 2010. Little did he know that this act of vandalism would spark a chain of events that includes one of his rats being removed from a wall, Museums ignorantly turning down a free Banksy street work, and a NY gallerist who has made it his business model to remove Banksy street works from all over the globe doing whatever it takes to get the rat in his possession.
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October 12, 2018 at 12:11 AM