Writer/Director Jeppe Ronde adapts a story that dominated the headlines in the area. The Bridgend Suicide Incidents as they are known peaked between 2007 and 2009 when almost all of the deaths were by hanging. Cinematographer Magnus Nordenhof Jonk work stands out in the feature. A lot of the action is shot in the woods. Jonk's use of natural lighting and shadows in the forest catches the viewers eye from the opening frame of the piece. The film also uses as a device scenes shot through window panes as a character looks through to observe unfolding events.
The ensemble cast handle their roles well. Hannah Murray of Skins and Game of Thorns fame character Sara shows key instances of growth throughout the film as she draws closer to the fold. Adrian Rawlins is notable in a smaller role as the local Vicar and Jamie's dad. He tries to reach out to the teens to offer support from the Church but is mocked by the group often with Jamie standing quietly by.
Bridgend is an eerie obsessive feature that brings the viewer deeper into the increasing groupthink of the Valley teens. Their activities are pack like with severe consequence inflicted on anyone showing a desire to depart the circle. Director Ronde presents the material plainly. The production does not put their slant on the events. The closest comment to a reason comes from Jamie when he responds that their view is not what this is to a theory presented by an adult.
*** Out of 4.
Bridgend | Jeppe Ronde | Denmark | 2015 | 93 minutes.
Tags; Suicide, Cult, Wales, The Valley, Teens, Woods, Ritual, Police, Church.