The Bridge (2006)

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Overall Rating 72%
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Filmmakers use hidden cameras to capture the various suicide attempts at the Golden Gate Bridge - the world's most popular suicide destination. Interviews with the victims' loved ones describe their lives and mental health. --IMDb
Review by bluemeanie
Added: December 19, 2007
If you were walking along a bridge one day, minding your own business, enjoying the beautiful view and the warm Summer air -- and then you see someone standing at the edge of the bridge, looking despondent, as if they might jump -- what would you do? That is one of the central questions at the heart of "The Bridge", a remarkable and affective documentary that examines one year in the life of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the most popular suicide destination in the world. People from all over make the trek to the city by the way to end their lives off the famous landmark, and "The Bridge" tries its best to make sense out of the needless tragedy.

What director Eric Steel did was pretty remarkable. For one year he and his crew filmed the bridge, watching as the fog rolls in, the surfers surf, the fisherman fish -- and, occasionally -- people leap to their deaths. All told, 26 individuals met their ends off the Golden Gate Bridge in 2004, and we are introduced to a few of them. There's Gene, the long haired rocker who has always been fascinated with death and paces along the bridge for hours before finally committing and taking a leap off the rail. There's Ruby, the depressed man whose friend feels like she might be partially responsible for his death. There's even a young man whose parents seem totally fine with the fact that their son killed himself -- he was going to do it sooner or later seems to be their mentality. We meet these individuals through their family, friends and, eventually, their footage.

Contrary to what you might think, "The Bridge" does not take advantage of the stories of these people. The film seeks to understand suicide, as a practice and just why the Golden Gate Bridge is so alluring to people seeking to end their lives. One woman says there is a romanticism about the bridge, but she also makes the point that there is nothing romantic about slamming into the water at 120 miles per hour. What moved me the most about the picture was how most of these family members and friends had come to terms with the suicides of their loved ones. There really weren't many people who got upset during the documentary. Some come off as cold and a little uncaring, but most just come off as people who have accepted that their loved ones are probably better off where they are now. "The Bridge" doesn't take sides. It displays both and lets the audience decide.

For many people, the thought of a film like this is too depressing, but "The Bridge" didn't leave me feeling that way. I felt happy -- happy that I was nowhere near the dark places these people were; happy I didn't have to deal with their problems and happy that I always know there is another solution. "The Bridge" might seem like it glorifies the lives of the deceased, and in a way it does -- but it doesn't do so to glamorize suicide, as an act. It just wants to show that, just because these people killed themselves, it doesn't mean they shouldn't be remembered. And there is a bit of majesty to the way the suicides are carried out, oddly enough. These are people who weren't content with overdosing on pills or shooting themselves -- they wanted something more from their death than they ever had in life. "The Bridge" is an emotionally stirring and gripping film that leaves a lasting impression on the viewer. It might be one of the best documentaries ever made. 10/10.
Cryptorchild #1: Cryptorchild - added 12/19/2007, 07:47 PM
Wow, this sounds really interesting. I'd love to see it. Great review by the way.
grain of sand #2: grain of sand - added 12/19/2007, 10:59 PM
great review indeed.
I see the bridge everyday, and since I've seen this movie I've never viewed it the same.
very haunting, very beautiful, one of the better documentaries I've seen.
definitely deserves a 10/10
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