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Review: 'Minding The Gap' is a Powerful Portrait About What Makes Us Who We Are

by Greg Vellante
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Wednesday Jan 13, 2021
Review: 'Minding The Gap' is a Powerful Portrait About What Makes Us Who We Are

"Minding the Gap" is one of those documentaries that deserves to be marveled for its existence alone. Much of it is the result of a filmmaker who always keeps the camera running, and so much of what makes this film special is the serendipitous nature of its ongoing themes.

Filmed over the course of many years by a young man named Bing Liu, "Minding the Gap" follows the documentarian's friends, Zack and Keire, who grew up alongside him in Rockford, Illinois. Raised in a tight-knit skateboarding community, "Minding the Gap" begins with exhilarating visual poetry that exemplifies the steadfast control and dedication to the sport by Bing, Zack, and Keire, but it eventually evolves into something
much greater.

The film finds its emotional power in its scrutiny of all its subjects, including Bing himself. Zack is a father in a rocky relationship with his girlfriend, Nina, balancing bills, alcohol abuse, and arrogance with the responsibility of fatherhood. Keire is younger and seems on a steadier path, but has his own demons related to his relationship with a now-deceased father and the father figures that followed. Bing ties these two lives together within his film and uses them to analyze his own upbringing, ultimately bringing forth an imperative act of cinematic investigation into masculine vulnerability, coming-of-age woes, and friendship. It's a heavy, complicated film, and it's all the more amazing for it.

As the film digs into the cyclical nature of abuse and trauma, its subjects are obviously the most fascinating part. So it's quite welcome that the new Blu-ray release of "Minding the Gap," from The Criterion Collection, contains an audio commentary with Bing, Zack, and Keire to further that comprehension. There's also a follow-up conversation with subject Nina, in conversation with Bing. Other bonus features include additional interviews (one with Tony Hawk!), outtake scenes, and a short film by Liu about two Vietnamese immigrants growing up in America.

All in all, the film is what makes this purchase worth it. One of the finest documentaries in recent years, "Minding the Gap" is a powerful portrait of what makes us who we are and whether we can overcome our demons. It will leave its mark on you.

"Minding the Gap" is now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection for $31.96

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