Bridgend Review - Stirring, Resonating, Shocking

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Bridgend presents a shocking true story of the suicide epidemic in South Wales that overwhelmed a village as one by one their youth decided that dying was a better alternative, the soul stirring accounts are gripping in their portrayals.

Written and Directed by Denmark’s celebrated documentary filmmaker Jeppe Ronde, Bridgend stars Hannah Murray, Steven Waddington and Joshua O’Connor with a strong supporting cast that resonate in their performances.

Bridgend opens as lone German Shepard is running through the fields, obviously lost or looking for his master, the dog continues running through the small village, into the forest, through the leaves, fields until he finds his master, dead, in a kneeling position, hanging from a tree.  He lays down at his feet.

The next scene cuts to the church, a casket, the same boy, Mark, is being buried, through the eulogy the Catholic Priest brings the audience up to date asking the villagers what is wrong with us, what is it in this town that we can’t stop this tragedy now at 23 adolescents of this small hamlet in Wales have chosen, for no reason, to commit suicide.

The Bridgend story behind the film is true, at present 79 teens, between the ages of 13 and 17 ended their lives through suicide, mostly hanging themselves, none left notes, no amount of concern, caring, parental intervention could end the plague, the suicide epidemic that gripped this town.

The next scene, a new copper, Dave, played by Steven Waddington, has taken an assignment in the town, his daughter, Sara, played by Hannah Murray, are finally happy again, after the death of his wife, the two have gotten on with life and leaving Brixton, South Wales, they decide to settle here in Bridgend.

As the two are pulling into the driveway, he can barely navigate the driveway with the trailer, each time he pulls too close almost taking out the columns. Once they get into the driveway, we understand why they were so careful with parking as the trailer was a horse transport. Inside, is Sara’s passion, a beautiful speckled horse, Snowy, her love of the animal is evident, she is draw to riding as others are drawn to the continuation of their craft.  

Dave, was off working right away as Mark’s death was nearly two dozen. Soon our girl, Sara, is making friends and as there were limited options between the suicides and just the general age population, everyone knew someone who had committed suicide.

It was difficult to tell in the beginning if she were working with her father as an undercover trying to gather information, finding that sensitive place, the common denominator that would drown out the voice of reason and bring these kinds to the end and a belief that whatever lie beyond was better and in fact welcoming them to another place.

Bridgend is a small town, and even depicted smaller in the film, sits surrounded by lush countryside, a town in the middle of nowhere. The big city of course is the internet away. There really is no physical place where sophistication or infiltration to any world is not possible. Bridgend is the same. The internet has given them access to worlds, good and evil, chatrooms, created and visited, highways to heaven or voices from hell.

As Sara is the daughter of the new cop investigating the deaths, she is targeted by the core group of teens that seem to be suffering with the most deaths. She falls hard for Jamie, played by Josh O’Connor, an impossible relationship that isn’t healthy. Sara is drawn to a bad boy and she is irresistibly in love.

With another suicide gripping the town Sara meets another girl, Laurel, and the girlfriend of Thomas, one of the guys as they all hang out. Soon they are walking to the forest and they get to the spot where Mark was found. The scene genuinely resonates as these kids begin to shout to the sky, troubled, deep cries. It is a riveting moment.

The days’ pass and Sara becomes more involved with the unruly crowd as her Dad becomes involved also. Soon each of them are spending less time together and more time with their new friends.

In an effort to protect her, Dave pulls Sara from the crowd and she sneaks out goes over to Thomas’ and for some reason he gets rough with her and attempts to strangle her and rape her. Jamie, the guy Sara really likes, seems to really believe the scene he's stumbled onto is genuine. Thomas send her home with his hoodie, he moves from tough, brutal to tender and remorseful.

Between the time Jamie and Sara hook up and over the course of the film, four suicides are shown.

Bridgend is probably one of the most stunning teen drama’s I’ve seen in years, if not ever. The fact that it is true, unexplainable and the effort to bring it to the screen was hampered by difficulties that included the director being drugged and assaulted during the research only make the film more intriguing.

Trying to ascertain the reasons throughout the film, is it a church scandal? Drugs? Trying to find the thread, something, and while they do breech a possible trigger, there is never any conclusive cause attributed. And the film begins at 23 follows four and from the headlines the suicides didn’t end until 79, and even then some linger on after the solidarity, known or unknown, pacts.

The strong supporting cast wasn’t included in the press notes which is a genuine oversight. I want to bring attention to the performances, gut wrenching in their cries as they mourn, without knowing how to mourn the loss of a loved one, a friend. And how much love to show? What is normal as the friends are seeing their group eaten away without warning, one by one as the insidious destroyer wraps itself around them. Are the crying in fear? Is what takes control infectious and are they next?

Bridgend is genuinely stunning, emotionally gripping, and with all unexplainable tragedies, a mystery that pleads for reason to make sense of it all.

Bridgend is available exclusively through Fandor streaming platforms beginning May 6, 2016. 

Images courtesy of Jeppe Ronde and used with permission. 

Haute Tease

  • Kim Kardashian West Robbed at Gunpoint; Kanye West Cancels Concert Mid-Song Citing "Family Emergency"

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Kim Kardashian West, reality television star and wife of musician Kanye West, was robbed at gunpoint of $10million dollars in jewelry while staying at a private residence in Paris for Fashion Week, according to media reports and her publicist.

  • CasaSandra introduces, for Thrill Seekers and the Adventurous, The Art of Whale Shark and Fishing Experience

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    CasaSandra, the luxury and artistic boutique hotel situated in Holbox Island, Mexico, introduces ‘The Art of Whale Shark and Fishing Experience" for the adventurous who are looking for the once in a lifetime thrill, without bypassing to the comforts of a luxury resort holiday.

  • Three Deadly Explosions Rock Brussels; 31 Dead; Scores Injured; City in Lockdown

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Three catastrophic blasts in two different locations have exploded across Brussels, Belgium, the capital city, during the morning commute killing at least 31, including the airport suicide bomber, and leaving dozens wounded.

  • MIB 3: A Laugh Out Loud Trip Back In Time from Director Barry Sonnenfeld

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Men in Black 3, a high speed, hi-jinks, trip back in time alien adventure, from Sony Pictures Entertainment/Columbia Films and Amblin Entertainment recently held its Los Angeles media screening in Century City, California.

  • Patti Cake$ Review – Raw, Unapologetic, An Early Oscar Favorite

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Patti Cake$, from Fox Searchlight Pictures, presents the story of stardom, the unlikely one in a million shot, where the obstacles are genuinely insurmountable, the hope is dwindling, the cash spent, and the bill collectors at the door.

  • HL London: New Music from the London Underground

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    I'm away for a week from tomorrow, still working but from a beach rather than the office. I'm not sure whether I'll have access to a signal reliable enough to send music to you over the next seven days, so I'm sending everything now, please digest it all at your leisure! 

  • Grand Velas Los Cabos Restaurants Review - A Gastronomy Delight, Epicurean Ingenuity at its finest

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Grand Velas Los Cabos, as an all-inclusive offers a variety of gastronomic opportunities from lite fare to the Italian eatery Lucca, the French Piaf, and Velas 10, a steak and seafood house, all highly authentic and with an elevated approach to cuisine.

  • Su Gologone Hotel, Sardinia, Italy, Offers Half Term Getaway

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Su Gologone, the hotel that embraces Sardinia’s most genuine traditions and culture, welcomes families during half term breaks with a selection of culturally infused activities both children and parents are bound to enjoy as they unplug from stressful city life.

  • Earthquake Hits Bay Area; Scores Injured; Three Critically

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck the San Francisco Bay Area this morning causing small pockets of damage as the quake rolled through the northern California wine country, startling sleeping residents of the Napa Valley region.

  • Beltway Insider: Obama Hosts PM Trudeau; Turkey/Ivory Coast Attacks; Election 2016; Reagan Funeral

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Obama welcomed the newly elected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the son of the late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, and his family to the White House for the first state visit in nearly two decades.

  • UPDATED: Colorado Teen Has Died From Injuries Sustained in School Shooting

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Claire Davis, 17, the Arapahoe teen shot at point blank range by a lone gunman who entered the Colorado suburb high school prepared for mass casualty, has died from injuries sustained in school shooting.

  • Everlast, World Leader in Boxing Gear, Partners with PIQ to Launch the Ultimate Boxing Wearable at CES: [Sands, Hall A-D, booth 44727]

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    PIQ Sport Intelligence, a leading French start-up in sports Wearables, and Everlast, the leading brand in boxing, announced a new partnership at the Consumer Electronics Show that will see the two companies combine their expertise.

  • The Post Review – Perfection, Rekindles the Fire of Investigative Reporting

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Post, from DreamWorks, Amblin Entertainment and Twentieth Century Fox, presents a defining moment in journalism as the Fourth Estate clashed violently with government over the publishing of Top Secret and classified documents known as The Pentagon Papers.

  • Beltway insider: Obama Fights Low Ratings, Affordable Care Act Failures; SNAP Benefits Face Cuts; Iranian Nuke Deal; Thanksgiving Traditions Strong

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Barack Obama, fighting the Affordable Care Act failures and freefalling ratings, traveled to sunny California, this week, visiting DreamWorks Studio, the home of his largest campaign donor Jeffrey Katzenberg, meeting industry executives and embracing Hollywood.

  • Widows Review - An Exceptional Whodunnit Thriller with Palpable Intrigue

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Widows, from 20th Century Fox, presents a fast moving political action thriller, set in contemporary Chicago, laced with corruption, intrigue, suspense, built around three avenging women left penniless after a heist gone bad leaves them widowed.


Login Form