in about 100 words or less
US 115m, Colour
Director: Adrian Lyne; Cast: Tim Robbins, Elizabeth Peña, Danny Aiello, Jason Alexander, Macaulay Culkin
As a psychological thriller, the story of Jacob’s Ladder becomes increasingly incomprehensible until the film’s final moments. The basic premise of the film is a recounting of the psychotic meanderings of an American soldier who has “returned” from Vietnam after what appears to be a near-fatal injury. Once finally explained, the plot of the film becomes very clear, and in fact, it provides an interesting approximation of Jacob’s state of mind – which is also a consequence of his condition. As the viewer, we continually question Jacob’s predicament throughout the movie and are led to imagine that he is home suffering from the stress of war, and perhaps the victim of a drug induced mental illness. Although both scenarios are not far from the truth, the film’s big reveal and the explanation of “The Ladder” are clever explanations for both the cause and effect of Jacob’s condition and actual whereabouts (Klaus Ming March 2011).