Film Review: The Bridge
The Bridge (Steel, 2006)
This quiet documentary film features San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge over a period of one year, highlighting the morbid fact that the landmark is the most popular suicide spot in the world.
During the making of the film, 23 people committed suicide and many other attempted. Director Eric Steel focuses on the footage he took as well as interviews with family members, friends and passersby, who were simply strolling along, enjoying the gorgeous view.
Though the movie doesn’t hesitate to show you the ‘how’ or the actuality of people leaping to their deaths, the documentary’s focus is on the ‘who’ and the ‘why’. There are many things to be learned from peering into the lives of people so lost that they feel suicide is their only choice. There may not be adequate answers, but the questions allow for the viewer's perspective to blossom in the light of such sadness.
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This is an in depth review comparing Herzog's Grizzly Man with Steele's The Bridge. Both tackle death, but in which ways do they differ and how do these differences alter the way the audience experiences documentary viewing? In this review I not only
Steel also looks into the site itself. What draws so many desperate souls to such an old bridge which is neither the deadliest nor golden. It is a section of metal in the midst of one of the largest metropolitan cities, an expansive park and the bay, which leads into the Pacific Ocean. It is an odd symbol, which Steel explores in this film examining death and the stories behind them.
This movie is fascinating, morbid and beautiful at the same time. It is worth watching and experiencing.
The Bridge Trailer
A book about The Golden Gate Bridge
- The Golden Gate Bridge is 1.7 miles long, 90 feet wide and approximately 245 feet above water, depending on tide.
- The Bridge is in close proximity to two infamous prisons: Alcatraz and San Quentin State Prison, which is just north in San Marin County.
- The toll for the bridge is only going into San Francisco and costs $6 for cars and can be as much as $31, depending on how large your vehicle is.
- There is no exact number of how many people have committed suicide by jumping off of the Golden Gate Bridge since its opening in 1937. There was a suicide count kept which ceased in 2005 where the suicides were well over 1,200 and they estimated that approximately 30 people killed themselves a year, or around one person every two weeks.
- The average jumpers’ speed hitting the water: 75 miles per hour.
- Few jumpers live and as of 2006, only 26 had survived. One is interviewed in the film.
- 98% of the people that jump off the bridge die. Most die from impact with the water, hypothermia or drowning.
- Steel put an advertisement on Craigslist and that’s how he got his cameramen.
- The cameramen would focus on certain people and if they suspected someone was about to jump, they contacted the authorities. In the bonus scenes, a cameraman tells a story about trying to save someone’s life and how the movie affected him. It’s worth the watch.
- Of the 24 people who jumped off the bridge in 2004, 23 were caught on film.
- The families who were interviewed didn’t know that their loved ones suicides had been taped until after their interview.
- The distinction of the most dangerous bridge in the world goes to the Hussaini Hanging Bridge.
- Director Steel has only directed this documentary, but has produced the films Bringing Out the Dead (Scorcese, 1999), Shaft (Singleton, 2000) and Julie & Julia (Ephron, 2009).