Thursday 17 October 2019

Minding the Gap review: 'Bing Liu’s grungy debut feature is a remarkable, unusual film'

4 stars

Minding the Gap
Minding the Gap
Paul Whitington

Paul Whitington

Bing Liu’s grungy debut feature is a remarkable, unusual film. Part documentary, part episodic reality drama, it starts slowly, even scrappily, before gathering an extraordinary cumulative power.

Bing Liu grew up in Rockford, Illinois, a once-thriving industrial hub that has seen rapid decline in recent times.

In his teenage years, Liu bonded with his two best friends, Keire Johnson and Zach Mulligan over a shared love of skateboarding. Liu began filming Keire and Zach as they ran their boards along Rockford’s roads and sidewalks and mulled over what adult life might have to offer them.

But for them skateboarding was no mere hobby - it was a means of escape. For as Liu’s film slowly reveals, all three young men had unhappy home lives blighted by violent, bullying or absent fathers.

And as it came time for them to become men, the question was would they do any better. Filmed over a number of years,  Minding the Gap is many things at once: an ode to friendship, a lament for lost childhoods and a damning indictment of an increasingly iniquitous society.

(No Cert, IFI, 93mins)

Also releasing this week:

Us review: 'Jordan Peele ups his cinematic game - it's a bigger, bolder, weirder and more operatically creepy production than Get Out' The White Crow review: 'A fine, soulful film'

Irish Independent

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