The Bridge (2006)
The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is infamous for being the one place on earth where the highest amount of people choose to end their lives. This phenomenon is what Eric Steel decided to study, setting up a number of cameras at strategic positions around the bridge and shooting non-stop footage for large parts of 2004, thus capturing some astonishing images of suicidal people. Steel showed a lot of courage in setting up this project, as he framed San Francisco executives into thinking he was making a film about the bridge's position in the landscape, and as he withheld information about the footage he had shot when subsequently approaching the grieving families for interviews about the people he had filmed on the bridge. That kind of courage is the basis for many really good documentaries. Unfortunately, Steel can't quite follow up when it comes to the execution. He is too absorbed with the sentimental, often awkward stories of the bereaved friends and family, and lacking vision and ability to ask the really investigative questions. There is enormous power in some of Steel's footage, but his end product is disappointingly feeble.