Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Pondering the deeply disturbing Bridgend (2015)

I saw BRIDGEND last year at the end of Tribeca and I wrote up a short capsule review which went:

Based on true story about a Welsh town where there is an epidemic of suicides among the kids. A deeply troubling and haunting film that will hang with you for days. This film deserves way more than this short little piece (which is all I can do in the wake of the end of Tribeca) so I'll be doubling back in a couple of weeks to take a look. For those who don't mind troubling films this is a must see.

I should point out that there is documentary out from a few years ago on the same subject which is also deeply troubling..

The idea was to go back afterward and write up the film in fuller longer review. I never did.

Basically after Tribeca kicked my ass I didn't have it in me to do any thing more beyond what I had done. I thought nothing of it and then went on to the next thing.

And then a couple of weeks ago I got an email from the PR people handling the film- Basically it was "Hey Steve, there's this great film coming out on Fandor called BRIDGEND, would you want to review it?

I wrote back "I saw the film last year at Tribeca and thought it as great. I will see about expanding the capsule review if I can find my notes."

"Great. Here's the press material and a link to the film so you can refresh your memory."

And then I pulled at my notes, and I looked at the press material, and I sat with my finger poised over the link for the film - and I turned off the computer and went outside and sat in the sunshine.

I couldn't go back to the head space of the film, more importantly I don't want to go back there.

(That's a rave boys and girls)

BRIDGEND tells the story of a Sara and her dad, a new policeman, who move to the village of Bridgend and find out all is not right there, it seems there is a curse of sorts, the villagers are killing themselves in droves and there is no explanation as to why. As the father seeks to find out what is causing all of the deaths the town is left to ponder the damage left in the wake.

The rash of suicides is real, While most have been of young adults the cluster has included people into their forties. In the first two years of the tragedy 24 people died, By 2012, five years on, the numbers had reached at least 79. Police desperate to stop copycats asked that the deaths not be covered in the media.

The film bothers me. The film gives life to something that I find hard to fathom is happening. I've read all sorts of explanations but none of them quite work for me. The film doesn't really have any concrete answers, which is why it's so troubling.

And of course the film hooks you by giving us two likable characters who are thrown into the middle of a mystery without an explanation-thus putting them in danger.

BRIDGEND is an excellent film. It is a film of quiet power. Yes the film will provoke a reaction from you when you see it,  But it's also a film that is going to stay with you for a long while to come, say a year later. For me the film has popped up several times over the last year in conversations and I quietly backed away from them because I don't want the film haunting me, As the quote on the poster from Variety, this is real world horror which is more terrifying than make believe because these monsters are out there.

This is definitely a film I recommend, even though it isn't one I ever need see again. Its a film that will make you feel something and ponder yourself and existence and why terrible things happen as well as the damage left behind. It is not a film for all audiences, but for those willing to go into the darkness it is worth your time, money and effort to see it.

Fandor is the exclusive SVOD platform for the film

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