7.5/10
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The Watchman (2007)

A window cleaner patrols the cliff-tops of Beachy Head, talking down potential suicides.
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Storyline

Every year, from the cliff-tops of Beachy Head, an average of 38 people throw themselves to their deaths. Now Eastbourne window-cleaner spends his days patrolling the 8 mile stretch of coastline, keeping a tireless watch over the notorious suicide spot. To date, Keith has prevented 25 from taking their own lives. What drives a man to such dedication? Written by Anonymous

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Short

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Release Date:

22 August 2007 (UK)  »

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Budget:

£2,000 (estimated)
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Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Color:

(PAL)

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Restores your faith in humanity
30 November 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Edward Brooke-Hitching, whose film The Really Terrible Orchestra scooped the Scottish short documentary award at EIFF 2006, has turned his attention to a much more serious subject this year – suicides at Beachy Head.

Rather than just talking about the fact that each year 38 people pitch themselves off the top of this beauty spot, however, Brooke-Hitching has found a human angle which gives his film much more of an emotional impact.

Keith Lane is The Watchman of the film's title. A man who, after losing his wife to the deadly draw of the cliffs decided to patrol them twice a day and try to talk down other would-be jumpers. This is truly what might be termed a magnificent obsession and Brooke-Hitching explores it with sensitivity. He lets Keith talk about his experiences and inter-cuts this footage with shots of the cliffs, capturing both their beauty and their immensity well. A careful study of one man's 'mission' and the sort of documentary that restores your faith in humanity.


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