The Bridge - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Bridge Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ September 21, 2013
The Bridge is a superb documentary that tells the story of The Golden Gate Bridge and its story about how it is among the most the popular suicide destinations in the world. The film shows actual suicides and it quite disturbing, sad and unnerving. This is a documentary that shows a darker side of this famous attraction. In a way this is a film that is necessary because it can maybe cause debate in preventing further tragedy on the bridge. San Francisco needs to put up some sort of barrier to prevent these things in happening. The interview from the family and friends are hard to hear and make you think. The questions and statements of the people that knew the victims are something that you can't forget. This is a film that will stay with you long after you've seen it. This is a very well crafted documentary, even if the film shows real suicides, I don't think it exploits the pain, quite on the contrary, it is a film that shows an important aspect of the bridge. Depression, Mental illness and hardships are reasons to do it, but often people ignore that cry for help, and don't feel sorry for them. However after seeing this film, you realize that some people need help, and the sad part is, is that most suicides on the bridge could have been prevented. This is hard to watch, but it tells an important story that you need to understand. The Bridge is a very good documentary, but due to its subject matter is only worth seeing once. The Bridge is a unique documentary, and there will never be a film quite like this.
Bill D 2007
Super Reviewer
½ October 2, 2011
"The Bridge" is a tough movie to watch. It's intensely somber. Debut director Eric Steel pointed his cameras at San Francisco's majestic and mysteriously powerful Golden Gate Bridge and found out something deeply disturbing. An extraordinary number of people jump off that bridge in broad daylight, and his cameras caught everything.

It must have been a tremendously difficult decision, but Steel decided to build a project around suicide and use the actual footage. He and his team tracked down the family members of some of those who jumped and gently and compassionately interviewed them, hearing the terrible stories of how their family members' lives fell apart. Most jumpers had issues with mental illness; that is the overriding theme. But not all of them.

As an artist, you can't get more meaningful material than this. This project pierces to the heart of the human experience.

Unfortunately though, "The Bridge" isn't a great work of art. It's very good, but something's missing. After about an hour of hearing the stories of broken lives, I didn't feel that I was growing substantially from the experience. I commend Steel for his bravery and compassion. I'm just not sure if he found his way to lessons that were meaningful enough to build a film around.

If you can handle looking into the face of complete despair, "The Bridge" is recommended. In some ways, I felt it was a way of honoring those who suffered so much. But it's also interesting to think about how this subject matter could have been treated in some better ways.
Super Reviewer
January 21, 2009
Eerie but completely fascinating. Like driving by a car wreck that you can't seem to take your eyes off of.
Super Reviewer
½ December 1, 2009
It's a really interesting subject, all about the suicides off the Golden Gate Bridge and in a way it's great that it brings awareness of the issue of small barriers which allow almost anyone to jump off. However, it's also a bit disturbing watching these people fall to their deaths! It's really quite traumatic as you know that it's real. I feel like the director and other people involved sat and did nothing to help. I really connected with the main man who jumped off at the end. Even though I knew it was coming, I still wished that he wouldn't jump. It's just so sad and really powerful footage. It's sending a message to the bridge officials that something needs to be done to stop this.
Super Reviewer
½ April 12, 2008
This is a good documentary but be warned... it is not a happy subject and will leave you a little depressed. The whole thing is a look at the people that kill themselves by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. The camera group filmed a bunch of these guys actually jumping to their deaths and this footage is pretty grim.So be warned...
Super Reviewer
½ May 8, 2009
Fascinating documentary. It doesn't provide any answers or insights, maybe because there aren't any. A heavy and intangible subject, that left quite an impression on me.
Super Reviewer
½ August 29, 2007
Very emotional and moving. The Bridge doesn't really explore anything other than the effect a suicide has not only on family and friends but also random strangers who are passing by. Each of the families stories dictates the events leading to the suicide without being all mushy and sentimental. A lot of the time the film has a very endearing sense of humour. The scenes of people jumping to there deaths are shot in such a voyueristic fashion they don't immediately hit with such force until later on. More of a brief glimpse into depression and suicide instead of an in depth exploration.
Super Reviewer
½ July 25, 2007
Respectful and powerful exploration of people who choose to commit suicide. It doesn't judge or condemn. It does however struggle to escape the ghoulish voyeurism of spotting the next jumper or splash.
Super Reviewer
July 17, 2007
The concept of this documentary definitely interested me, focusing on some of the many suicides that occur at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. It's a fascinating subject, and it's covered effectively in the film - however, in the execution/directing of the film, one gets a sense more of morbid curiosity from the filmmakers rather than genuine compassion or respect, and this results in a certain lack of substance, overall. There are definitely some truly unique moments here, since, through placing stationary cameras at multiple places around the bridge over the period of months, they captured footage of a number of people actually jumping from the bridge to their death, which we're shown. It's a little harrowing, definitely disturbing, but somehow surreal. One person interviewed in the film said a lot of people romanticize the bridge, which is probably why so many people choose at their place to die, but this romanticizing and removal from the reality of these events seems to come from the filmmakers, as well, and I don't think that's very appropriate. And although there are some very beautiful, mesmerizing shots of the bridge in the film - the constant shots of the bridge, no matter how varied they are, get a little repetitive and tired. So, it's an interesting subject and worth a look if you're intrigued by it. But for me, the presentation was lackluster and underwhelming, to say the least.
Super Reviewer
½ October 1, 2015
Inspired by an article from The New Yorker, The Bridge is a provocative documentary about suicide. Focusing on jumpers from the Golden Gate Bridge, the film interviews the family, friends, and witnesses of several suicides. Also included is some raw footage of a couple of jumps and attempts that were caught on film. However, no context is provided to understand why people choice the bridge as a method of suicide or how they die. And there's no deeper discussion of suicide and its aftereffects. Yet despite its rather surface approach, The Bridge is an oddly fascinating documentary.
Super Reviewer
April 12, 2008
[font=Century Gothic]"The Bridge" is a hauntingly powerful documentary about suicide in general. By using the Golden Gate Bridge, a very public and busy place, for its focus, the documentary seeks to draw out the topic of suicide into the public sphere for a rare examination. The bridge is also the most popular site for suicides.(24 in 2004, when the documentary was being filmed.) This has less to do with the beautiful scenery, than with practicality.(I won't elaborate on the off chance that I might encourage someone.) Aside from the controversial footage of the bridge and the jumpers(illustrating just how hard it is to tell if a person is about to jump), most of the movie is taken up by interviews of friends and families of victims including one person lucky enough to survive, along with witnesses and one person who actually stopped a jumper.(I think it helps rather than hurts that there are no experts on hand.) All of them have in common a certain helplessness as they can do little to stop the people they love from killing themselves. Luckily I have never been in that position even though I have had friends that have suffered from depression. [/font]
Super Reviewer
½ May 14, 2010
This documentary really affected me because I didn't really know that so many people choose suicide this way. Of course I knew this was happening from time to time but this documentary tragically shows the raw reality of people in the lowest places of their lives. My thoughts are with the people who choose this destiny and with their families, these are some truly tragic scenes.
Super Reviewer
May 12, 2010
One of the most powerful and disturbing documentaries even made, that caused significant controversy because it captures 23 real suicides from the Golden Gate Bridge. Director Eric Steel focused his cameras on that magnificent span for months in 2004, and recorded these leaps of death. The backstory of the jumpers are heartbreaking and fascinating, in interviews with family and friends that give some insight into the true ramifications of suicides, there are no judgments here and no easy answers. The actual scenes of these poor souls jumping to their doom from such a beautiful and magnificent Bridge is truly horrific and not for the faint of heart. This film blows away the false belief that some have that there is some sort of nobility in suicide, it makes it painfully clear that suicide is only self-destruction and death period! I found all aspects of this amazing documentary exceptional, the extraordinary cinematography that captures the beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge itself and the bay area, the gripping and moving interviews. We also learn that more people have chosen to end their lives on the Golden Gate Bridge than anywhere else in the world. Overall a gut-wrenching, but totally unforgettable film. Highly Recommended.
Super Reviewer
June 16, 2007
"He just kind of held his arms out and disappeared. And I wasn't sure if I was imagining this, and so I drove for a few seconds and looked in my rear-view mirror and my heart rate went up. And I almost felt like I wanted to start crying because I thought to myself, 'wow I might be one of the last people to ever see this person alive'. When I went into the tower and I talked to the highway patrolman, you know I asked him blatantly, I said 'is this a rare occurrence or does this happen often?' And he looked at me and kind of smiled and just said 'it happens all the time'."A touching, perceptive and sometimes unexpectedly beautiful documentary, concerning one of the few remaining taboos - that of suicide. Eric Steel interviews witnesses, friends and family members of 23 of the 24 people who chose to end their life by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco in 2005. Not easy viewing, the film shows footage of the suicides themselves that is undeniably disturbing and difficult to watch. Much criticism was levied in the press at Steel suggesting that he was in someway culpable for those who died - the argument being that surely he should intervene and stop those shown from jumping. It's an argument that's difficult not to find some truth in from watching the film alone, but something that has been rectified by the DVD's liner notes, which features a Director's statement outlaying Steel's intentions and methods. In fact, the crew would call the authorities whenever they saw someone they believed could potentially be a 'jumper' near the railings and probably did prevent some people from (at least initially) committing suicide. But the manner in which the film was shot - from a long distance away from the bridge itself with telescopic lenses - meant the crew were rarely on the bridge itself and therefore had to rely on the authorities getting to those about to jump in time. And of the 24 people who ended their life, most did not hang around on the bridge for long, but very quickly, and shockingly easily, stepped over the railings and plunged to their deaths. Amongst many other things, Steel finds in his interviews with friends and family members reasons as to why so many people choose the Golden Gate Bridge to end their lives. "I think the bridge has a romance... a false romantic promise to it. Because he's dead. And he doesn't get to benefit from the romanticism of it... It romanticises him a bit in the legend, but he doesn't benefit from it. So what if his story has that at the end? He's gone. And so I think there's an empty promise; it's almost like when alcoholics talk about the romance of the bottle... maybe the first sip is really good, and everything else is hell... Maybe walking out there he had a romantic moment or two or an hour, but hitting the water can't be fun." Almost without exception, the interviewees are intelligent and articulate people and some of their testimonies are very, very moving. The insight contained in this film is invaluable, rare and honest. There's an extremely painful and truthful moment when a close friend of one of the people who jumped from the bridge declares that they wished they had done something more; "I made the mistake of giving him some space to recover, and that was a bad call I think... I didn't want to humiliate him and have him be in a psych facility, cause I wasn't sure they were really gonna help him, and I didn't want to cross my boundaries. But I will never again not intrude. I wont respect their privacy. And I will not ever again not do something because I'm afraid they might be embarrassed." The bridge is shown from different perspectives: in close-up, from a field where young girls play soccer, in the distance as artists sketch and paint the powerful architecture. Contrasting the different shots, different reactions to the suicides are offered, showing the many different ways the actions of those who have died have affected those they have left behind. Some feel relief that those obviously in so much pain and depression now no longer have to struggle. Some are in denial; one family member hides behind religious beliefs and tries to justify his sister's suicide as an accident or a conspiracy. Many can't believe how a person could find the courage to take the step into something so final. Others are profoundly angry that they could do something they see as selfish. "I couldn't fully cry - the overwhelming emotion was anger. I was extremely pissed... I don't see any reason for people to do that. And Gene had people in this world that loved him. And he hurt them. If I see him again, that's what I wanna tell him. He hurt me. And I didn't think he would ever do that."The Bridge is undeniably bleak and sometimes depressing. Even the remarkable story of the young man who jumps and lives to tell his story doesn't really have a happy ending. Suffering from bipolar disorder, his friends walk on eggshells around him, his father doesn't seem to understand what he's going through, and his declaration that he wont try taking his own life again doesn't really convince. But there are moments of absolute beauty here too. The bridge itself of course is a stunning, iconic image, and the photography makes full use of this. There's hope in itself from understanding about mental illness and suicide, and the preciousness of life. The Bridge even proved to be a convincing polemic: in 2006 when it was shown a part of the Tribeca Film Festival, the authorities went ahead with a study into looking at providing a 'suicide barrier' (the construction of which is estimated to cost some $25 million); at present action has yet been taken. Investment was made into 'non-physical' suicide prevention in the mid 1990s by means of bicycle patrols, security cameras and phone lines, but the suicide rate shows no signs of decreasing and there are still around 25 to 30 suicides every year.
Super Reviewer
October 27, 2007
Eek. I couldn't really watch all of it. It's a sobering, thought-provoking, chilling, and haunting experience.
Super Reviewer
June 30, 2007
Morbid, mythic, and monotonous -- in about that order.
Super Reviewer
January 7, 2008
As the fog lifts, the beautiful and scenic San Francisco Bay lay bare as the bustling city aglow with human activity. The prominent bridge that many, from all over, travel in hopes of seeing and walking its expansive pathway. Friends and families gather to enjoy what is one of America's richest historical landmarks. For some, it is witnessing an event that can never be detailed in words for the experience alone remains a dark memory. For the loved ones left behind, questions linger for an explanation that might never arrive. This documentary centralizes upon the magnetic intrigue the great bridge has upon most people and the remnants that they leave behind.
Super Reviewer
½ February 13, 2011
On one hand, I enjoyed how they did kind of a background on the people they showed jumping. On the other hand, I wish they would have done more on the bridge itself - why people choose this spot, statistics, etc.
Super Reviewer
½ June 19, 2007
Dedicated to suicide victims of the golden gate bridge. Depressing.
Super Reviewer
½ May 9, 2007
The film maker does an amazing job of making the Golden Gate Bridge feel like some eery thing out of a Japanese horror film. A powerful documentary. If suicide or depression make you uncomfortable, AVOID, other wise I highly recommend.
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