Suicides off of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge are so common that one was reported by the crew of X-Men: The Last Stand while filming a sequence there last year. A combination of easy access, opportunity for a dramatic exit and (in my opinion) a mistaken perception that a high jump into water isn't intrinsically fatal and leaves the door open for rescue, has turned the Golden Gate into the most popular self-murder destination in the world. In The Bridge, first time director Eric Steel sets up multiple cameras to capture footage of people pacing the bridge, climbing over the guard rails, and ultimately plunging the 200-feet to the shark-filled bay below. The jumpers, posthumously profiled through chilling interviews with friends and family, are a remarkably depressing lot, afflicted with hopeless schizophrenia, off-the-charts depression and other ailments that make their lives a waking nightmare. The Bridge is frankly excruciating to sit through. You may walk out of the film having absorbed its anti-suicide message, but you'll also want to kill yourself.

The jumper who gets the most screentime is Gene, a man with long, metal guitarist-hair who is described by his best friend as being "not of this world." He apparently spent every waking moment in front of his computer, until deciding one day to strike out on a journey to meet an 'online friend' whom he had struck up a relationship with. Believe it or not, that didn't pan out. Gene is also remembered as being an insufferable wolf-cryer, peppering even casual conversations with threats of suicide, which his acquaintances eventually began tuning out. An even more depressing case is Lisa, a young psychotic who tortured her parents by putting on a 'normal' act when they would have her institutionalized, so that she would be let out again. By the time she reaches adulthood, Lisa has lost all of her teeth due to neglect and is referred to as "poker face" because she never shows any emotion. One day she fixes herself a last meal at the halfway house, then walks to the bridge.