The Bridge (2006)

If your thinking about suicide don’t watch this!

Over the span of a year, cameras capture tormented souls trying to kill themselves by leaping from San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge in this provocative documentary that underscores the landmark’s rep as the world’s most popular suicide destination. Through poignant interviews with family, friends and eyewitnesses, director Eric Steel’s film reveals a common thread of depression, despair and chronic mental illness.

It is easy to be repulsed by being made to watch people contemplating suicide, and then, after an agonizing wait, seeing them jump and hit the water. But I have no problem with this film, ethically. It is a rare glimpse into the mystery of suicide, and into the kind of person who feels drawn towards death. And jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge is not just any death: it truly is something extraordinary.

The interviews are very heart-felt and at time while listening to them tell their stories of a loved one lost you may start to think about anybody you know that comitted suicide, I know I did. The interviews with the friends and relatives of suicides are sad and very touching, revealing the hole that a suicide leaves in other people’s lives, all the unanswerable questions. Even more remarkable is the account of the boy who survived jumping.

The only problem with these interviews is that a lot of the time they never served any real moral purpose other than “just don’t commit suicide”. They didn’t quite serve any real purpose as to what would be the right thing to do, and how they could have dealt with this problem better since, it seems almost every time they knew about it going to happen but chose to do nothing about it.

After awhile the film starts to act like a snuff film. I mean showing some deaths on camera are effective, but showing over about 23 deaths on camera, that’s when it starts to get out of hand. The camera work for the deaths were real choppy too, and you couldn’t actually even see the guy fully falling in just the splash of the water.

Consensus: The material is disturbing and effective, with plenty of powerful interviews, but the film didn’t serve any moral purpose, and when showing these people going to commit suicide they have no reason.


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