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Review: 'Bridging the Gap's' look at Vienna Boys' Choir is off-key

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In "Bridging the Gap," director Curt Faudon lands all over the map — literally and figuratively — as he attempts to show how the angelic vocals of the venerable Vienna Boys' Choir can unite people of the most disparate countries, cultures and religions because, y'know, there's power in music. But Faudon, who also wrote this oddball documentary's hoity-toity script with Tina Breckwoldt, can't keep still long enough to craft a sufficiently coherent and cohesive portrait. This leaves the viewer adrift in a barrage of postcard-pretty visuals and lovely but, some may find, indistinguishable classical songs.

Faudon's cameras travel across the United States, Japan, India, New Zealand and elsewhere as members of the choir audition, rehearse, perform and, perhaps most importantly — at least according the film's florid narration — "connect" with the locals: Maori tribesmen, Indian schoolchildren, Japanese restaurant workers and others. Much of this feels stagy and bland — when it's not coming off as pretentious or surreal (by the film's end things turn particularly trippy).

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We also never learn enough, individually or process-wise, about these poised and talented young choristers to help us invest in their heady journeys; a quick montage wherein the boys (they're little men, actually) muse about their career goals feels perfunctory.

"Bridging the Gap" may mainly aim for audio-visual delight (Stephan Mussil's cinematography undeniably dazzles), but as an authentic look at a more than 500-year-old institution, the film proves less in tune.

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'Bridging the Gap'

MPAA rating: None

Running time: 1 hour, 26 minutes.

Playing: At Laemmle's Town Center 5, Encino.

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