DVD Talk
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
Blu-ray
International DVDs
Theatrical
Adult
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
XCritic.com
DVD Stalk
DVD Savant
High-Def Revolution
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum
Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

DVDTalk Info
Review Staff
About DVD Talk
Advertise
Newsletter Subscribe
Join DVD Talk Forum
DVD Talk Feeds


Special Offer

Search: For:
Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Bridge
The Bridge
Koch Lorber Films // Unrated // June 12, 2007
List Price: $26.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Francis Rizzo III | posted June 18, 2007 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
P R I N T
Printer Friendly
In 10 Words or Less
Suicide is painless...except...

Reviewer's Bias*
Loves: Good documentaries, life
Likes:
Dislikes:
Hates: Suicide

The Movie
When The Bridge first entered my consciousness, I can't deny it carried with it a morbid curiosity, as it was purported to show real people really killing themselves. That's technically kind of like a snuff film, one of the longest standing taboos, much more shocking than on-screen penetration. So, as someone who actively sought the video of R. Bud Dwyer's very public self-execution, I knew I needed to see this study of suicide and its graphic depiction of death.

Upon watching the film, I was in no way disappointed, though every base expectation went unfulfilled. Instead of a gawking, sensational exploration of how people kill themselves, full of lots of creepy last-moments video, what director Eric Steel and his crew have created is a tender look at the human condition, and did so not by making the suicidal the subject of the movie, but the people they affect instead. This is not a movie about the Golden Gate Bridge. This is not a movie about the people who jump off the Golden Gate Bridge. This is a movie about the people left behind by the people who jump off the Golden Gate Bridge.

I've always felt that people who commit suicide in a public way are, in at least some way, selfish people. Just because you've decided to end it all, doesn't mean you need to inflict your sadness on strangers. I feel like this film supports my opinions, focusing on the friends, family and bystanders who are forever changed by their connection to those who jumped. When you watch a family's nice day out destroyed by someone's grandiose death wish, and the children forever left with that moment in their minds, it's hard to feel much pity for the jumpers. And that's before you get into the awful guilt inflicted upon people looking to just take a pleasant walk.

Through interviews, photos and the striking video of the bridge, the film manages to paint clear pictures of the suicide victims, though the viewer never gets to meet them (with one major exception.) The details of their lives and deaths are certainly interesting, but it's how the info is shared, in heartfelt (and sometimes not-so-heartfelt) bits and pieces, that get to the core of the matter. Using one man as a framework for the film, building his story slowly and in great detail, Steel essentially makes us one of the witnesses, almost implicit in his actions, and an acquaintance to the lost. It's a bit manipulating, but then, most good documentaries are.

Good documentaries also tend to have an agenda/point of view. What the POV is here is up for some interpretation, as the title structure, though filmed beautifully, is never more than a setting, a detail that ties together a cast of characters sharing little more than a common end. One almost gets the feeling that this film could have taken place anywhere with enough depressed people and an iconic high spot. A bit more exploration into why this spot is so popular for offing oneself would have made an interesting subplot or special feature, but that will have to wait for another foggy day.

The DVD
Packed in a standard keepcase, the DVD features a static, anamorphic widescreen main menu, with options to watch the film, select scenes, check out extras, adjust languages and see previews. Language options include English Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 tracks, while subtitles are available in English SDH. There is no closed captioning.

The Quality
The quality of the anamorphic widescreen transfer on this film is uniformly high, with vivid color, a high level of detail and not a speck of dirt or damage. Depending on the conditions at the time of a scene, the clarity can be like crystal, or fuzzy, but the presentation is consistently good. Some frames should be taken out and blown up as posters they are reproduced so well.

The audio, delivered as a Dolby Digital 5.1 track, is technically excellent, but not overwhelming, as one would expect from a documentary. Dialogue is very crisp, while the side and rear speakers get some enhancement on the music.

The Extras
"A Short Feature on the Making of The Bridge," spends 19 minutes with Steel and his crew, as they discuss the motivation for making the film, how the movie was shot, and the experiences of the camera crew that filmed the suicides. There are few films in which the crew is as interesting as the subject, but the moral conflicts and heartbreaking moments the filmmakers went through are fascinating and riveting for the entire run-time of this extra. In no way will you envy a single person involved in this movie.

The film's theatrical trailer, which is understated and beautiful, is included on the disc, along with a PSA for a suicide prevention hotline, featuring one of the film's subjects.

The Bottom Line
Once you get past the lurid topic of the film and the voyeuristic feelings created by watching people end their lives, you are left with a gorgeous and well-crafted documentary about the effects of suicide on the people left behind. It's definitely not the dark, exploitative examination of death that some might have expected. The DVD looks and sounds very nice, and though the extras are light, the featurette is a perfect supplement for the film, and stands on its own as a highly interesting piece. Thanks to an approach that's even-keeled and gentle, this movie is accessible to anyone mature enough to want to explore what happens when people choose to die, in about the most intimate way possible.


Francis Rizzo III is a native Long Islander, where he works in academia. In his spare time, he enjoys watching hockey, writing and spending time with his wife, daughter and puppy.

Check out 1106 - A Moment in Fictional Time or his convention blog called Conning Fellow


*The Reviewer's Bias section is an attempt to help readers use the review to its best effect. By knowing where the reviewer's biases lie on the film's subject matter, one can read the review with the right mindset.

Popular Reviews
1. Angry Birds Toons - Season 01 Volume 02
2. Fargo: Remastered Edition
3. Double Indemnity - 70th Anniversary Limited Edition
4. Star Trek: Enterprise - Season Four
5. The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts: Fully Roasted
6. Hill Street Blues: The Complete Series
7. Demons
8. Norma Rae: 35th Anniversary
9. Little House on the Prairie - Season One & The Pilot Movie
10. The Carol Burnett Show: Carol's Crack Ups


Special Offers
DVD Blowouts
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Alien [Blu-ray]
Buy: $19.99 $9.99
8.
9.
10.
Special Offers
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Copyright 2014 DVDTalk.com All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use