I went along to the Curzon Soho yesterday to see the new Banksy film that isn't really about Banksy and is more about the haphazard antics of his friend Thierry 'Terry' Guetta - no relation to David as far as I know.
I hadn't read any reviews and I hadn't even bothered to watch the trailer but knowing I had the day off I thought it would be an opportunity to indulge in another matinee treat.
We're first introduced to Terry as a bumbling Frenchman making a living selling vintage clothes in LA and obsessed with filming. By coincidence Terry's cousin happens to be Invader - the street artist that sticks blocky representations of Space Invader characters wherever he can - and he starts following Invader and filming his nighttime forays around LA.
Through Invader Terry begins to meet and film other artists such as Shepard Fairey and others whose names I can't remember. All the while Terry is collecting this footage but what you don't realise until later is that Terry isn't a film maker and he has no plans to use the footage for anything meaningful. He's clueless basically and just excited by the glamour and adrenalin of the street art scene.
For Terry the holy grail of this whole shambles is to meet with and film Banksy which he sees as the missing piece in his cinematic jigsaw. By chance - again - his dream becomes a reality and he meets, chaperones, films and befriends the illusive Banksy.
Now that Terry has collected all this footage - and it's a ridiculous amount of footage, literally thousands of tapes - Banksy suggests he edits it into a film so Terry sets to work immediately. What he creates, entitled Life Remote Control, is a ridiculously relentless 90 minute trailer/headf*ck for some Lawnmower Man esque movie set inside an Atari ST gone wrong.
On showing his work to Banksy Terry is told it's good - meaning it's total worthless sh*t - but perhaps he should leave the tapes with Banksy and go back to LA and try being a street artist himself. The film is funny throughout but this is where it gets really amusing. Terry goes home and invents the pseudonym Mr. Brainwash, assembles a team of young artists and goes about instructing them on what to create for his first show, to be held in the 800 capacity ex-CBS headquarters no less.
Terry gets press quotes from Fairey and Banksy and builds so much hype around himself and his upcoming show that even the LA Weekly is taken in, giving him the cover for the opening week of the show. The show opens and it's a massive success, the queue stretches around the block, people smash through the barriers to get in and Terry makes over $1 million in the first week selling his street-savvy takes on modern iconography - Marilyn, Elvis, Warhol, Bowie, you get the idea.
The film ends after the show and we see Banksy et al's reaction to Mr. Brainwash, most say they don't want to have anything to do with him and it's hard to tell if they're serious or not. Overall I enjoyed the film - it's funny throughout and Terry is quite a character - but it made me realise just what you can achieve in life if you have plenty of cash to throw around - Terry isn't short of a few quid - but that's nothing we didn't know already.