A Matter of Life or Death
The Bridge
Review by Ross Anthony

Quick Synopsis: During a one year period, filmmakers keep a camera running along side the Golden Gate Bridge capturing on tape several suicide jumpers. Filmmakers also include interviews with family members and friends of the departed. In one case, they interview a jumper who survived.

Upon reading the film’s description, I suspected that it would either be: a) a soulless, watching-a-train-wreck kind of picture that would leave me empty and upset with myself for being glued to it – or b) a painful picture that encouraged the viewers to appreciate life all the more.

My polarized suspicions turned out to be insufficient. The film failed to impact as emotionally in either direction as I’d expected. Part of the problem is its length. At an hour thirty, the picture should have been cut by at least thirty. There are so many shots of the bridge – simply as the beautiful structure that it is – that I started to grow tired of the sight of it. Yes, some of those shots are gorgeous – truly spectacular, but many many many others are only average or less. Soon enough they begin to feel more like filler than anything else.

As for the shots of those unfortunate souls who, after pacing back and forth, finally decided to climb over and jump – those shots are admittedly captivating. Especially, the first one or two. Then we finally see a photographer/passerby decide to get involved; in fact, grab a female would-be-jumper by the jacket and pull her back up. It’s one of the most moving moments of the film. At first, I was angry at him for stopping to photograph her, but not assist her. Then, the bold way he moved to grab her – that was truly inspiring. From then on, I had no interest in watching filmmakers film other jumpers make the plunge. I was thirsty to see them all drop their cameras and grab an arm or leg and save a life – if even for one day.

From a more sociological/psychological point of view, I appreciated the interviews a great deal. For those of us who love life, there is so much to learn in these interviews. They may even help make us better equipped to encourage those with suicidal thoughts. The interview with the one young man who jumped and survived was perhaps the most poignant: “Just at the second my hand left the rail, I realized I wanted to live.” Is that what the others thought too? -- But didn’t live to say.

Structurally, the picture is a little messy. That, and the girl who was pulled up by the photographer, I wanted to hear her story – her thoughts.

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  • The Bridge. Copyright © 2006.
  • Directed by Eric Steele.
  • Released by IFC (c) 2006.

Grade..........................B (2/4)

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Copyright © 1998-2022 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

Last Modified: Tuesday, 07-Nov-2006 15:13:36 PST