Release Date: October 27th, 2006 (AMC Loews Village 7, Regal E-Walk 13 and Regal 64th & 2nd) by IFC Films.
Directed by Eric Steel.
BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about people who committed suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Just two days after Exit: The Right to Die, a documentary about assisted suicide, opens at the Film Forum, comes The Bridge which explicitly shows real footage of some people jumping to their death from the Golden Gate Bridge. Since 1937, nearly 13,000 have committed suicide from the beautiful bridge where the railing makes it easy to jump. Director Eric Steel includes some interviews with the victims’ relatives and friends who openly discuss the last communication they had with the victims and express their emotional trauma after the suicide. Combining these interviews with actual footage of suicides makes for a powerful experience that is painful to listen to or to watch. At times, the film feels a bit redundant as more and more interviewees recall their experiences. Steel does, though, document a particularly fascinating story about a young man who felt alienated by his family and friends. So, one morning, he woke up, went to his first class and then jumped off the bridge. At the last moment during the fall, he decided he wanted to live, so he tried to land on his feet which, luckily, saved his life with only minor injuries. More emphasis on this miraculous story would have been much more fascinating than the other stories. It would also have been interesting to interview some of the bridge security guards who deal with lots of emergencies and, not surprisingly, were programmed onto film crew’s speed dial while they filmed the bridge. Nonetheless, their footage, which captured people climbing over the railing and plummeting to their deaths, is both disturbing and haunting.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Many of the interviews with the victims’ relatives and friends are very heartbreaking and moving, especially when they recall the final communications with their loved ones. However, there’s not enough insight into what can be learned from these tragedies so that they can be prevented.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Occasionally redundant and not enough insight.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 3
IN A NUTSHELL: Very disturbing, moving and mildly fascinating, but not enough insight.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: VHS/DVD
The "B" Menu