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The Bridge

A movie directed by Eric Steel

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The Bridge - 2006

  • Mar 16, 2011
Rating:
+3
Pros: some beautiful camera work of surrounding areas

Cons: depressive

The Bottom Line:


"One more sunset, maybe I'd be satisfied
But then again
I know what it would do
Leave me wishing still,
For one more day with you"
~Diamond Rio



I'll admit I watched The Bridge for very personal reasons.  It is a documentary by director Eric Steel and writer Tad Friend covering the suicides from the Golden Gate Bridge.  It is rated R for disturbing content and language.  This year marks the 15th anniversary my own son's, Jason, suicide.  I guess I wanted, as all survivors do, to see if I could gain any more answers to the unbearable question of "Why?"

The story:
It is filmed in documentary vein under very strange circumstances.  Director Eric Steel settled on several vantage points around the Golden Gate Bridge, set up some cameras, and hired a crew to sit and film the bridge for an entire year.   What they were looking for was that particular group of individuals that had come to a point in their lives where they were simply done and jumping from the bridge seemed the solution they chose to end their lives.

Steel then interviewed different members of the surviving families, not telling them in advance he had actual film of their loved ones suicide.  While this may all sound a bit bizarre at first glance, in the long run it was simply just another bunch of camera people catching some obviously controversial film footage.

The interviews with the surviving families and friends of the suicides was very interesting.  Most of them weren't completely surprised by the deaths but the resulting devastation to the survivors is horrendous.  It is something that has no closure, no answers, no understanding.  Their stories were painful, sharing years and years of watching their loved one or friend slowly melt away from them mentally.  They watched the daily struggles to grasp reality or find solace in their lives.  In the end they were as broken as the one that left them, showing resigned acceptance of the decision made.

Even some of the filmmakers had no understanding at the completion of the project of the Why theory.  Several of them seemed quite shaken by the experience, although that didn't stop them from continuing on until completion.

Steel falsified his application to the Golden Gate Bridge committee, stating he intended to film the beauty and glory of the bridge and surrounding areas and he wanted to film this majestic monument as it lived in conjuncture with nature.  He never mentioned the suicides at all.

As beautiful as most people feel the Golden Gate Bridge is, I found it rather cold in appearance when I saw it.   It looks so desolate, almost like a hulking beast sitting in the bay.  For some it has a strange siren song, calling to them.  It is stated in the documentary that it ranks as the number one spot for people to complete suicide.  Rather a depressing mantle to hang on it, I would think.

Some of the camera work made the bridge almost look peaceful, welcoming.  Billowing clouds, sunny skies, people milling about.  Then a shot at the angry water below became a chilling punctuation mark to the results of those that stepped over the railing and fell to their deaths.

Since there were no actual actors involved, I can't comment on the work of those interviewed. 

DVD extras:
"Making of" segment with interviews with the camera crews; short message from John Kevin Hines who had jumped from the bridge in 2000 but survived the fall do, he said, to divine intervention and a group of seals that kept him afloat; previews.

Overall impression:
I came away from the film with no added information for my own personal struggle.  Instead I felt a good deal of depression and sorrow for all involved, even the camera crew.  It has been suggested that some prevention could take place if a barrier was constructed to prevent people from climbing over but proponents of the beauty of the bridge say it would distract from it.  They also state it would be prohibitive in cost.  I don't know what value they place on a life, that is their own cross to bear.

I will note that the camera crew had bridge patrol on their speed dial of their phones and they did call each time someone jumped.  They felt their presence there helped alleviate some jumpers that year - 2004 - there were only 24.  They captured 23 of them on film

thanks,
Susi

Recommended:
Yes

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March 21, 2011
"Some of the camera work made the bridge almost look peaceful, welcoming. Billowing clouds, sunny skies, people milling about. Then a shot at the angry water below became a chilling punctuation mark to the results of those that stepped over the railing and fell to their deaths.." wow! sweet observations! Thanks for the review!
March 22, 2011
thanks for the comment
 
March 18, 2011
I am glad I am not the only one who has seen this, great write up.
March 18, 2011
it was a bit disturbing but I'm kinda of glad I watched it also. thanks
 
1
More The Bridge reviews
review by . October 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Eric Steel assembled a group of what amounts to camera people to film the Golden Gate Bridge over the course of a year. Why?      More suicides are committed on that spot of geography than any other. Mr. Steel learned this from The New Yorker in 2003. Starting from the first day of 2004, he brgan shooting the bridge. During the course of 90 minutes, the cameras catch a number of people jumping from the bridge.      I’m not kidding.      …
review by . July 19, 2009
The topic is quite difficult, but I feel like the director brought a human face to a problem that everyone feels helpless to solve. Dozens of people kill themselves each year on the Golden Gate bridge, but not much is known about the families and the impact on them. The Bridge conducts sobering interviews with both people who witnessed the suicides and those left behind.       With a lot of patience, the crew filmed for a year and caught about 24 suicides. This was done with …
review by . May 18, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
When I asked my husband what movie we were watching tonight and he gave me this films description, I was immediately repulsed. I argued with him about watching such a depressing film and pretty much begged him to find something else on TV. I had no interest in watching people leap to their deaths and then listen to their families as they morn their lost loved ones.      As is usually the case in remote control wars in my home, I lost. So I grabbed my book and settled in to ignore …
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Susi Dawson ()
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About this movie

Wiki

The Bridge

The Bridge is a 2006 documentary film by Eric Steel that tells the stories of a handful of individuals who committed suicide at the Golden Gate Bridge in 2004. The film was inspired by an article entitled "Jumpers," written by Tad Friend appearing in The New Yorker magazine in 2003.

A DVD version of the film was released by Koch Lorber Films on June 12, 2007.

The Bridge focuses on the large number of suicides that occur each year at the Golden Gate Bridge, capturing footage of the suicides and interviewing family members. Also interviewed are people who have attempted suicide at the bridge, witnesses of the suicides, and a jump survivor.

The movie was shot with multiple cameras pointed at a notorious suicide spot on the bridge during 2004. It captured 23 people as they took their final plunge, and then offers interviews with grieving families.

The soundtrack of The Bridge is composed by the British film composer Alex Heffes and is called The Shadow of the Bridge.

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Tags

Movies, documentaries, San Francisco, Golden Gate Bridge

Details

Director: Eric Steel
Genre: Documentary
DVD Release Date: June 12, 2007
Runtime: 94 minutes
Studio: Koch Lorber Films
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