Eric Steel’s documentary The Bridge has been racking up divisive opinions left and right since its opening at Tribeca earlier this year, and this has proven no different for Reverse Shot. Steel’s camera, set up at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, allegedly the world’s most popular public setting for suicide, captured many of these death plunges from afar during the year. Twenty-four people jumped in 2004, and many of their stories are told here (from the mouths of loved ones and friends). Shocking, morbid, yet surprisingly respectful of its delicate subject matter, The Bridge nevertheless seems to some critics as both of ethical dubiousness and lacking in insight. Regardless of whether opportunism played into the making of the film, there’s no doubt that Steel’s using the imagery and film’s form to gently palpate the questions that hang in that space between life and death, beauty and destruction, and in those final moments when a person commits the unthinkable. More importantly, Steel never makes his film about his “stunt,” never once remarking through any sort of voice over how he captured such footage or what he’s trying to show with it. The removal of the authorial voice: a refusal to exert his presence over such wayward souls? Or a cowardly remove from the film’s implications? Read our Reverse Shot critical round-up at indieWIRE, then see the movie and decide for yourself.
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