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The Bridge

4.0 3
Director: Eric Steel, Kevin Hines, Patrick Hines, Rachel Marker

Cast: Eric Steel, Kevin Hines, Patrick Hines, Rachel Marker


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Inspired by a New Yorker story, "Jumpers," written by Tad Friend, director Eric Steel decided to train cameras on the Golden Gate Bridge over the course of 2004 to capture the people who attempted to leap off the famed structure, the site of more suicides than anywhere else in the world. He also tracked down and interviewed the friends,


Inspired by a New Yorker story, "Jumpers," written by Tad Friend, director Eric Steel decided to train cameras on the Golden Gate Bridge over the course of 2004 to capture the people who attempted to leap off the famed structure, the site of more suicides than anywhere else in the world. He also tracked down and interviewed the friends, family members, and eyewitnesses to further recreate the events leading up to the incident and to try to explain what led these people to want to kill themselves, especially at this specific site. The documentary's primary subjects all struggled with mental illness, including severe depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorders, and the documentary struggles to understand their illness while illuminating the anger and hurt of their loved ones. Most questions remain unanswered, turning on the darker recesses of the mind. The shots of the bridge wreathed in fog turn the Golden Gate into a metaphor for a bridge between life and death, sanity and mental disturbance, and extreme isolation and connection with society. Though the camera crew worked with a set of guidelines, including that they would call in someone they thought was going to jump, the documentary still includes lengthy footage of the moments leading up to and including the suicides, so discretion is advised for sensitive viewers. ~ Michael Buening

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
The Bridge is an intense viewing experience, a documentary that addresses death with a candidness rare in any forum. It is far more respectful and nuanced than the shocking premise sounds, a moving thoughtful sympathetic rumination on the vagaries of mental illness. It opens and repeatedly returns to footage taken of the Golden Gate Bridge, showing it throughout the day, in different weather, following random pedestrians, before lingering on someone who looks like they'll jump. The effect is to lull the viewer into a meditative state about his or her own mortality. However, director Eric Steel is walking a very precarious line with his repeated use of footage of people committing suicide, running the risk of exploiting the deaths for voyeuristic thrills. This filmmaker's dilemma is never discussed, instead focusing on the jumpers and their life story. But how to cover such a private moment in a public place seems like it should be addressed, especially since the audience is a participant as a silent viewer. Overall Steel's approach is respectful without being timid. There are a few instances where awkward devices are used, particularly when needlessly manipulative pop ballad cues are introduced and when the film plays a cruel game of "will they or won't they" with the audience in cutting from person to person. Anyway, a few mistakes can be forgiven when dealing with such a difficult subject, and The Bridge's accomplishments are far more profound than its minor faults.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Koch Lorber Films

Special Features

Behind-the-scenes featurette; National Suicide Prevention Lifeline PSA

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Kevin Hines Interviewee
Patrick Hines Interviewee
Rachel Marker Interviewee
Tara Harrell Interviewee
Carolyn Presley Interviewee
Wally Manikow Interviewee
Mary Manikow Interviewee
Matt Rossi Interviewee
Jenn Rossi Interviewee
Rich Waters Interviewee
Ginny Matthews Interviewee
Shelley Albar Interviewee
Eric Geleynse Interviewee
Chris Brown Interviewee
Susan Ginwalla Interviewee
Lyle Smith Interviewee
Dave Williams Interviewee
Christina Koelling Interviewee
Figueroa Family Interviewee
Steve Meronek Interviewee
Keith Glenn Interviewee
Gordon Smith Interviewee

Technical Credits
Eric Steel Director,Producer
Jim Black Musical Direction/Supervision
Alison Palmer Bourke Executive Producer
Christopher Covert Musical Direction/Supervision
Margaret Crimmins Sound/Sound Designer
Alex Heffes Score Composer
Sabine Krayenbuehl Editor
Peter McCandless Camera Operator
Evan Shapiro Executive Producer
Greg Smith Sound/Sound Designer
Tony Volante Sound Mixer
Jessica Wolfson Associate Producer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Bridge
1. A Common Occurrence [7:57]
2. Gene [1:26]
3. Lisa [7:30]
4. A Family Recounts [5:35]
5. Wally & Mary Manikow [15:58]
6. A Photographer's Perspective [8:23]
7. Kevin Hines: A Survivor's Struggle [14:34]
8. Process of Deciding [5:48]
9. David, Ruby and Jim [13:20]
10. A False Romanticism [3:05]
11. The Hurt Left Behind [7:02]
12. End Credits [3:34]


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The Bridge 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
vink More than 1 year ago
I lived in the Bay Area for 5 years, and I never once heard about people jumping off our bridge. It's eye opening to learn that someone successfully plummets to their death off that beautiful structure almost once a month, and many others attempt to but are stopped. The idea of this movie intrigued me, though I found it fell a little short of what I wanted. The storyline focuses on a handful of people and tells their stories in depth. The up side of that approach is that we get to delve a little deeper into mental illness and the romanticized idea of suicide. However, being an ex-Californian, I wanted to learn more statistics so I could gauge the frequency of this occurrence. We don¿t get any figures until the credits. And if people jump off this manmade structure more than any other, what are the stats on the other structures and which structures are they? Perhaps I am morbid for having these thoughts, but these unanswered questions distracted me from the storyline. I would¿ve engaged more with the characters if I had some numbers to help me understand how common this story is.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A moving look at ordinary people effected by the ultimate consequences of mental illness. It becomes apparent by the end of the film how little we know about mental illness and suicide. Do we as a society care? Should we? Those are the questions these trouble people leave behind as they disappear beneath the waves.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago