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  • Writer's pictureJames Rutherford

‘Minding the Gap’: An Extraordinarily Compelling Documentary About Three Friends’ Unique Camaraderie

Movie poster for the documentary Minding the Gap from filmmaker Bing Liu

“Minding the Gap“ (2018) is a piercingly forthright and compelling documentary that follows the lives of three friends (Keire Johnson, Bing Liu and Zack Mulligan) from Rockford, Illinois who share a common passion for skateboarding as a form of escape from volatile family lives.

Liu himself directs and shoots the film impressively, as he paints a portrait of young men on the cusp of adulthood while struggling under economic hardship and facing numerous challenges in their personal lives—skateboarding the salve that soothes and unites them. Keire remains haunted by his deceased father who raised him under a strict and abusive hand, struggling to understand his identity as a burgeoning adult. Zack eschews responsibility in favor of skateboarding and partying, unnerving his girlfriend Nina when it comes to caring for their young daughter. And Liu carries painful memories of an abusive stepfather whose presence his mother strains to justify or explain, as he searches for answers that provide no easy resolution.

An Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary Feature, “Minding the Gap“ chronicles heedlessness and abuse within a Rust Belt community bedeviled by crime, neglect and unemployment. Marketed as a straightforward skateboarding documentary, it ultimately bears so much more in terms of true human interest, as a unique and stunningly poignant tale of personal reckoning and hard-fought maturation. A grade-A documentary recommendation, this one is sure to leave a profound and lasting impression.


View the trailer:


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