JACOB'S LADDER - 1990
Carolco Pictures / Live Home Video / Artisan Entertainment
Ratings: France: -12 / Germany: 16 / Sweden: 15 / UK: 18 / USA: R
What is real?
Is your life real? When you hold your loved ones, are they tangible?
Do they drift through your fingers like mist?
What if every experience you've ever known, every thought and laugh, each
memory and emotion, all the tears and sunsets and people, what if they
were all a dream? A dream that you had while waiting in your mother's
womb to be born and as soon as you finish this sentence you'll wake up?
How do you know you're alive? I mean really know. Just because you breathe
and bleed and can have an orgasm? Is that real? Are you real? Are you
sure? Prove it . . .
Sounds like a bad trip on L.S.D, doesn't it?
Welcome to the ultimate mind fuck: 1990's JACOB'S LADDER.
Bruce Joel Rubin (DEADLY FRIEND, GHOST),
this film is a paranoid roller coaster ride through hell. Just when you
think you know where the plot is going, it veers away from you, hurtling
in a new and horrifying direction. Rubin spins a masterful web of terror
and deceit, where everything you think you know proves to be false.
(Tim Robbins: THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, ARLINGTON ROAD, ANTITRUST, MYSTIC RIVER) is having a bad life. Emotionally
crippled by the death of his young son (Macaulay
Culkin: THE GOOD SON, PARTY MONSTER), Jacob leaves his wife Sarah, (Patricia
Kalember: Stephen King's: CAT'S EYE) and other sons behind and
hides amidst the carnage of the Vietnam War. While "in-country"
his battalion falls under a vicious attack. During the ensuing firefight,
his fellow soldiers become the victims of some harrowing physical and
mental alterations from unknown forces. Blind with panic and confusion,
Jacob is wounded from a bayonet attack.
Fast forward six years later. Jacob has deserted his ex-wife and thrown away his Ph.D
for a sexual and spiritual relationship with a fiery Latin co-worker (Elizabeth
Pena: STRANGELAND, THE INCREDIBLES)
and a mundane job with the Postal Service. His only friend is his chiropractor,
Louie, played by Danny Aiello (THE STUFF). Jacob finds himself not only haunted by self-doubt and the
memories of his life before the war, but by the shade of that near mortal
encounter and wound. His recollections of that night are hazy and disjointed.
He is a man on the edge of everything.
Jacob fears he is losing his mind as his reality begins to crumble around him. The
New York subway system becomes a portal to hell, the trains ferrying lost
souls like cattle to the slaughterhouse. Demons leer from park benches
and genetic mutants lurk in abandoned buildings. Abhorrent freaks keep
watch on him from the rear seats of passing cars. As the horrifying hallucinations
continue, Jacob tries to unravel the tapestry of tangled memories from
the bizarre incident in Vietnam. Reality and fantasy, past and present,
heaven and hell, all mix together, as Jacob begins a nightmarish descent
into the depths of the human mind and soul.
To say that JACOB'S LADDER is densely plotted would be an understatement. Layer upon rich layer of
plot and symbolism exists within this film. It is a movie that changes
with each repeated viewing, a cinematic chameleon that remains ever elusive.
With one of the most surprising and shocking twist endings in Hollywood
history, JACOB'S LADDER is a triumph of psychological horror.
Directed by Adrian Lyne (FATAL ATTRACTION) and featuring
riveting early performances by Jason Alexander (THE BURNING), Ving Rhames (BRINGING OUT THE DEAD, FINAL FANTASY, DAWN OF THE DEAD ) and Eriq LaSalle (WHERE ARE THE CHILDREN?), JACOB'S LADDER is a terrifying whirlwind nightmare that will haunt
you long after youve returned the video to the store. I give it
the highest rating Feo has created.
copyright 1999 E.C.McMullen Jr.
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