Synopsis by Michael Buening
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.
suicide, bridge [structure], mental-illness, anger, depression, isolation, mortality, struggle, suffering