Title: Minding the Gap
Director: Bing Liu
Starring: Keire Johnson, Zack Mulligan, Nina Bowgren, Bing Liu
Runtime: 1 hr 33 min
What It Is: Rockford Illinoisians, Bing Liu, documents his ragtag gang of skateboarding friends as they navigate relationships, violence, and their identity in a dead end town.
What We Think: Usually when someone says “boys will be boys” it is met with disdain for the free pass on accountability. In the case of Minding the Gap, these young men honestly and openly tell what it’s like when there is no one there to teach them to be accountable. With most of the film shot in POV, it feels like you are in the middle of a conversation with Keire, Zack, or Nina. And when they let down their facade, when they get emotional and real, it really pulls at your heartstrings. Each of them was let down by an adult who didn’t protect them and now they have to navigate being an adult and making decisions to either build or stagnate their future. While not everyone may be able to relate to their stories, the film has definitely given a voice to those who do. The film touches on toxic masculinity, domestic violence, vicious cycles and even comments on race. Each of the subjects are growing in realtime on the screen and it is enough to have to hold back a tear or two.
Our Grade: A, Most documentaries have biased messages or beliefs they are trying to push. Liu didn’t set out to prove to viewers domestic violence is bad and he didn’t bate his subjects into pushing his views, but rather he showed that these kinds of stories exist. The flow of the film also worked well with the runtime and there wasn’t too much information to the point of being overwhelmed or confused. It goes without saying that this is a must see.