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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A strangely compelling film about Suicide
I caught this film on TV a while ago while channel-hopping. Now, I am not usually the kind of person who likes watching films or documentaries concerning illness, disease, disability or psychological problems (not because I am heartless, but I do not have the strength of will to witness the misfortunes of others). However, this film had me hooked from the opening shot of...
Published on 3 May 2010 by Spin

versus
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Warning - be sure you want to watch before you watch
Very difficult to review. Firstly, a fantastic example of how documentary film can cut through a taboo subject and really grip the audience. In terms of film making I'd have no hesitation to give this 5 stars.

But the flip side is that this is an emoptionally scarring subject matter. I. Will. Never. Forget. Some of these images. They are seared into my brain...
Published on 14 Sept. 2009 by soulfood


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A strangely compelling film about Suicide, 3 May 2010
This review is from: The Bridge [2005] [DVD] (DVD)
I caught this film on TV a while ago while channel-hopping. Now, I am not usually the kind of person who likes watching films or documentaries concerning illness, disease, disability or psychological problems (not because I am heartless, but I do not have the strength of will to witness the misfortunes of others). However, this film had me hooked from the opening shot of a man pacing the San Fransisco bridge.
This is a deeply moving film, addressing not only the phenomenon of suicide but also the nature of life and death as perceived in a modern society. It is not, though, a "deep" film that will bring tears to your eyes. In fact, I was left with a strange admiration for those who have decided to end their suffering. For is it not the case that Euthanasia is slowly becoming an acceptable human right in modern times? Why not suicide?
What disturbs people about suicide is not the act itself but is, rather, the shame we feel in the fact that no-one helped these people. We allowed these people to be traumatised, overlooked and forgotten, and it is this that makes us condemn the only action available to these poor people. Our condemnation of suicide is really borne of the sorrow we feel for those who are left with no option, in their opinion, but to end it all. The discussion of suicide is taboo not because of the act itself, but because of the events that led to the act of self-annihilation. It is not the death that disturbs us, but the life that led to it.
This film is not an essay on suicide. It is a questioning of how we, in the modern world, consider the so-called "right to life" in the absence of a "right to die". Thought-provoking, sympathetic and compelling, this film is a unique portrayal of a subject most of us do not understand completely.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bridge, 6 Aug. 2007
By 
F. A. Perry (Hampshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bridge [2005] [DVD] (DVD)
This film has moved me more than any other I've watched. I've never felt the need to write a film review before until watching this film and so hope I do it justice.

This film has moved me deeply but it isn't a film my wife would like nor a film suitable for younger people as it is so shocking. It deals with the people who attempt or have committed suicide by way of jumping off the bridge and so the bridge is the prop in their deaths.

The bridge is used by all, tourists, commuters, people going about their business but it also attracts people who want certain death (but the director interviews a survivor who believes he is saved by a seal and so he was saved by God and so his live now has some meaning to it).

The families of the bereaved are interviewed and to some it came as a shock and to others who realised that suicide was inevitable, it was just a question of when but they felt helpless to prevent it. Some of the families seemed relieved in that their child or friend had ended the mental torment that they had lived with for endless years.

Some of the parents blamed themselves which was very heartbreaking, the fact that they loved their children sufficiently to take on board this responsibility and with this came the guilt that would live with them forever.

The film shows people using the bridge for recreation or site seeing and in some cases actual attempts at suicide, some of which are successful. The film gives no indication who is a potential jumper and who isn't and so it comes as a shock when it happens.

The viewer is left feeling helpless as I guess the police also feel, who have a presence on the bridge but are helpless to prevent the suicides. We are shown repeated images of certain people but we aren't certain as to whether they will jump or not and sometimes they do which adds to the shock and trauma.

A brilliant aspect of the film is the filming, sometimes it speeds up which leads to a surreal image and had me feeling that what I was watching wasn't really true. How could people be so desperate, how could their minds be so unbalanced, how could this be filmed (and not prevented) how sad for them and their loved ones they leave behind.

The film left me feeling very sad, very empty and a feeling that I couldn't believe what I had just watched but the director has dealt with the subject matter with sympathy and empathy.

I guess if its seen more as a documentary than a film then we can come to terms with its subject matter but how very very moving and its images will live with me forever. I also have concerns with the film as to why some of the suicides couldn't have been prevented by the film crew notifying the police but maybe they did.

I also felt guilty that I watched this film but dealt with it by thinking its part of life (and death) and if we're to help prevent suicides we need to try and understand how people feel to cause them to take such drastic action. Its left me wanting answers as to why there are so many suicides, why the bridge and why we can't prevent it happening
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A moving, brutal and poignant film, 13 Aug. 2007
By 
David (SPECTRE Island) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bridge [2005] [DVD] (DVD)
This is not an entertaining film - it's hard - it's brutal - and quite moving. This film is a real life film about suicides on the Golden Gate Bridge and how it affects people. Director Eric Steel actually filmed people jumping from the bridge. Now you could argue that this is a film that exploits the people affected by this - its not!! This is the story of the people who died and how it affected their family and friends. The shots of the people jumping are quite hard to watch especially since you know they died for real. Eric Steel has created a very moving film which shows the pain and misery that drives someone to end their life. I have given this film 4 stars rather than 5 because of the lack of extras - it would have been interesting to have a making of doccumentary where the director explains his motivations for making this film and how what he filmed affected him. As I said at the start of my review this isnt an entertaining film, don't expect to be entertained, instead you have 90 mins of thought provoking screen time.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great film, 15 Feb. 2008
By 
Leighann Mcvie "l.mcvie" (scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bridge (NTSC US Import) [DVD] [2007] [Region 1] (DVD)
this film changed my whole view on suicide and mental illness, it gave the viewers a very quik insight to the anger and sadness these victims go through on a daily basis trying to deal with the pain of their feelings. the footage was very eerie, seeing people take one final jump and that was it finished for them, but they still left their pain behind with their family and friends. the bridge is a very powerful yet sad documentry, showing the ignorant people of this world that suicide is far from an easy way out..but a tragic but a very brave step in ending the mental torment these people have been going through each day. i strongly recomend this film be watched!!!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bridge to understanding?, 4 Dec. 2007
By 
I. Curry "IDC" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bridge [2005] [DVD] (DVD)
Eric Steel's documentary on suicide and the people who jump to their deaths from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is nothing if not provocative and divisive. In the mainstream media it has had good, four to five star reviews, or appalling single star ones.

Admittedly and inevitably, there is a definite sense of the disturbingly voyeuristic. There can't help but be, with Steel 'succeeding' in filming 23 of the 24 bridge jumps that happened that year. They are shown plunging to their deaths, from a distance. The sensation in watching is much like repeating the horrifying shots of people hurling themselves from the twin towers that the network news channels quickly stopped showing in the aftermath of 9/11.

But I don't think it is a needlessly hysterical or frenzied media driven film. It is, in my humble opinion, extremely sensitive. It just seeks to explore what drove people to the point that they throw themselves off the bridge. It seems that the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most 'popular' jump spots, and people have this strange period before they jump when the Bridge seems to obsess them and draw them. He films people walking along the edge, contemplating the drop, sizing up the railings etc.

The bulk of the film is made up of talking head interviews with families and friends of the jumpers. These seek to explore the extent to which it was widely known the person was suicidal, was there anything that could be done to stop it, and what the repercussions were. And this presents a dark but fascinating insight into a subject that is even more than mental health in general taboo. Suicide cuts across so many religious, moral, familial and personal moral boundaries that such a film can't help but be immensely provocative. But giving the people who live on after a suicide a voice humanises suicide and severe depression. It shows how a crippling, deadly illness can be visited on anyone in society, and impact on a huge range of people.

One section is particularly gripping and hauntingly powerful. It concerns John Kevin Hines, a seemingly normal lad who jumped from the bridge but, amazingly, survived. Since then he has battled with depression and the physical damage to his body, but also devotes huge energy to raising awareness and trying to prevent suicide. It is incredibly moving. His testimony really reached out to me - you just wanted to be able to do something to help. It gives a real sense of how powerless it must be to love someone who is suffering in this way.

On the whole I don't think it is a great documentary, but it is a good one. Steel has some way to go before producing the expert documentary I believe he might be capable of. But I also think the reviewers in the mainstream media who give it the one star reviews are reviewing the morality of the film rather than judging it as a film. I don't mean this as a criticism, and I suppose there would be those reviewers who find it little more than a snuff film and as distasteful as that. But for anyone interested in mental health, and especially the furthest reaches of what people go through, it is an interesting film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brave and Awe-Inspiring Documentary, 3 Feb. 2011
By 
William Cohen (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bridge [2005] [DVD] (DVD)
This film is a kind of inversion of Man on Wire - an overwhelming statement of human vision and ingenuity. Here, people are not defying death, they're abandoning life. And their reasons are complex and saddening. There are no morals to be drawn. People are strange, said Epictetus; they neither wish to live nor die.

Well, these characters choose death. Human experience is different for different people. One man miraculously survives the jump from the Golden Gate Bridge, although you get into some difficulty talking about 'miraculous' suicide attempts. The film shows how difficult it is to create meaning from these events, but some families and friends come to terms with it. It's a gripping film, which is made with great sensitivity.

It reminds you that if you want life, it's there to be taken. The kite surfers show a different way.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bridge - A Stigma Destroying Movie, 8 May 2007
By 
John P. Sheldon "JohnPaul" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bridge (NTSC US Import) [DVD] [2007] [Region 1] (DVD)
This film changed me. It changed my attitude to suicide, and brought me closer to the people who commit suicide and to their friends and family. A beautiful, moving, emotional film, set on the wondrous Golden Gate Bridge. Not to be missed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Voyeuristic but fascinating, 19 Feb. 2011
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This review is from: The Bridge [2005] [DVD] (DVD)
The Bridge is a fascinating if morbid documentary looking at the record breaking Golden Gate bridge which has supposedly witnessed more suicides than any other place in the world. It was really quite eerie watching people calmly jump over the barrier and fall to their deaths. Ironically this footage, although macabre, was the highlight of the film. The stories behind the suicides (although the point of the documentary) I found less interesting since the same story seemed to be repeated over and over again. Mental illness, disaffection and feelings of worthlessness were characteristic of pretty much all the deaths and although I appreciate this was pretty much bound to be the case it still didn't make it that interesting to watch. In fact I have to be honest and say that I felt little sympathy for any of the the jumpers in the end. Most of the victims seemed to have come to a well thought out and rational (for someone with mental illness anyway) decision so perhaps it was for the best. Who knows? The film cleverly built up to the final voyeuristic footage which was nothing if not worth the wait. Sorry but I'm just being honest and if this was not the case why was it left until last?
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Warning - be sure you want to watch before you watch, 14 Sept. 2009
This review is from: The Bridge [2005] [DVD] (DVD)
Very difficult to review. Firstly, a fantastic example of how documentary film can cut through a taboo subject and really grip the audience. In terms of film making I'd have no hesitation to give this 5 stars.

But the flip side is that this is an emoptionally scarring subject matter. I. Will. Never. Forget. Some of these images. They are seared into my brain. And although I recognise that this is due to "powerful film making" it's also due to the subject matter. What has exposure to this material done for me? It's showed me how vulnerable some people are. Perhaps how vulnerable we all might be. Is that something I want?

Who's to say there isn't good reason for suicide to be shrouded in taboo? Maybe that taboo is grounded in a basic human need to deny the existince of this form of self destruction. And I'm not talking about a religious denial. It's a basic instinct that this film seems to break. Seeing footage of people throwing themselves from a bridge on a sunny day broke so many rules. And yet - this is what documentary is there to do. Expose us to truths. Wierdly I couldn't stop myself watching, but looking back, I kind of wished I had.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Emotionally Challenging, 30 Nov. 2008
This review is from: The Bridge [2005] [DVD] (DVD)
There is no doubt this is an extremely difficult film to watch on a number of levels and also makes it very difficult to rate.

On a superficial level the film is a largely static film of suicides from the Golden gate bridge which apparently is the most popular location for suicides (eclipsing Beachy Head). Some of these you see in relative close up and others are just a distant splash nn the water - so not ideal for the voyeur. It has a series of interviews with the relatives of those who took their lives and in one instant of a survivor, it is remarkable that some do survive at all, who is a clearly troubled human being both before and after the event. In most cases the sense of loss these relatives have is immense and tremendously affecting.

There is of course a much deeper and troubling level which makes the whole thing so uncomfortable to watch and therefore needs to be treated with caution. It is profoundly harrowing, particularly as it tracks, as a recurring theme in the film, one individual who seem ambivalent in his attempt. It is really hard to come away thinking that this suicide could have not been prevented both by his friends and by the film makers. The event burns into your retina and now several months after seeing this film it still rattles around my head.

I don't often see the point in age ratings on film but this is one that fully justifies its 18 rating. Approach with care I don't think you will forget ever watching it whether you want to or not!
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