As cinematographer on Minding the Gap, Bing Liu follows his longtime friends as they skateboard through the frequently abandoned streets, parks and parking lots of Rockford, Illinois. When they weave, he weaves. When they leap a curb, he catches air, too. When they take a corner too tight, he teeters precariously. The camerawork feels free and improvisational, but never thoughtless and unstudied. The same traits carry over to Liu’s work as director, co-editor and co-star in Minding the Gap, which premiered as part of the U.S. Documentary competition at Sundance and marks an audacious feature debut on all levels.
Liu had been filming his friends and their skateboarding antics for years, capturing every spectacular stunt, every scary face-plant, and hours and hours of boys-will-be-boys banter and bickering. The friends are at a transitional point, especially fun-loving Zack, who finds himself facing adulthood in unexpected ways when his girlfriend Nina gets pregnant.
Liu’s immediate background was in cinematography, and the showiest moments are the skating scenes, which have an energy all their own. […] Minding the Gap doesn’t set itself up as an apology or justification for cycles of male misbehavior, just as an insightful glimpse, with beats of ominous disappointment and exhilarating optimism.
Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter