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Jacob's Ladder

4.3 out of 5 stars 472 customer reviews

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(Jul 14, 1998)
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Editorial Reviews

A Vietnam vet, back at home in New York City, finds himself losing his grip on reality, in a horrifying way; only his friend can help him.
Genre: Feature Film-Drama
Rating: R
Release Date: 22-AUG-2006
Media Type: DVD

Special Features

  • Deleted scenes
  • "Building Jacob's Ladder" a 27 minute making-of documentary featuring never-before-seen footage

Product Details

  • Actors: Tim Robbins, Elizabeth Peña, Danny Aiello, Matt Craven, Pruitt Taylor Vince
  • Directors: Adrian Lyne
  • Writers: Bruce Joel Rubin
  • Producers: Alan Marshall, Andrew G. Vajna, Bruce Joel Rubin, Mario Kassar
  • Format: AC-3, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: July 14, 1998
  • Run Time: 113 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (472 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0784011168
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,559 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Jacob's Ladder" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mark Shanks on May 30, 2000
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I wonder if this movie could be made today - after all, it doesn't have any computer-generated special effects, it demands the viewer's complete attention, and really needs to be seen more than once to appreciate fully the meaning of all of the scenes. Incredible too is that the writer (Bruce Joel Rubin) was working on the filming of this and his more popular movie "Ghost" at the same time. Director Adrian Lynne wisely avoided some of the more sacharrine touches that Rubin had in the original script (such as the view of "Heaven") and added many subtle disturbing elements of his own. The final result is a film that you will think about long after you see it, a man's journey through the bardo state to his final enlightenment. In a way, this is the cinematic equivalent of a Pettersson symphony - an emotional catharsis after the long, dark night of the soul. I'm not ashamed to say that I cry like a baby every time I watch it.
Comparisons with Bierce's "Occurrance at Owl Creek Bridge" and "Carnival of Souls" are inevitable and not out of place, but "Jacob's Ladder" has more layers than either of those and ambitiously takes on the psychological layers of one man's life, the tension between the comforts of home, wife and family and the unfufilled desires he harbors.
There are some violent scenes and very disturbing imagery throughout the movie; after all, it *is* about war, fear, and death. However, none of it is gratuitous, and the use of strobe lighting, quick cuts, and odd camera angles keep the viewer from being able to see anything definite. But don't say you weren't warned....
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Jacob's Ladder open's with New York postal worker Jacob Singer waking on a subway train having just experienced a nightmare flashback to his time in Vietnam. Upset and confused he tries to ask his fellow passengers if he has missed his stop but as he passes them he sees flashes of tails and horns in the uncommunicative people whom he approaches for help. Exiting the train he finds the stairs to the subway locked and on crossing the tracks he narrowly misses being hit by a train coming in the other direction and whilst lying on the track he witnesses yet more disturbing images as the train passes by. Unsure whether these images are real or as a result of some form of post traumatic stress disorder from his time in `Nam, he struggles to keep his grip on sanity as his life becomes a nightmare, with his days punctuated by visions of demons, his first wife and his dead son. His life begins to unravel and the line between reality and delusion becomes ever more fragile.
This is, in my opinion, by far and away Adrian Lyne's best movie, which may surprise some people given the fact his CV includes big box office hits such as 9 ½ Weeks, Indecent Proposal and Fatal Attraction. His direction is subtle, considered, well-paced and as near as you'll get to perfect. The cinematography is also excellent and the use of special effects are relatively understated but effective, which is something that can rarely be said since the advent of CGI. As for Bruce Joel Rubin's screenplay no praise is too high. It is intelligent, intricate and complex and it keeps you guessing until the end. In fact there is so much in this movie that second time around you'll find yourself picking up clues that you missed first time around and appreciate the cleverness and different levels of the story even more.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Jacob's Ladder is a psychological thriller in which Jacob Singer (Tim Robbins), a Vietnam veteran, is suffering from hallucinations which seem to have some connection with what happened to him one night in Vietnam war. Jacob finds himself living in different time realities and he just cannot grab at the present time. He sees demons and nightmarish visions strangely combined with flashbacks of that night in Vietnam which make him pass out. When he regains conciousness, he wakes up to completely a different time reality which, too, turns out to be a false at the end, leading him to another false reality. He cannot make sense of the situation and thinks he is losing his mind. He constantly finds himself trapped in neverending sequences of nightmares that he cannot wake up from. This cycle never ends until the end of the film when all the other realities vanish, leaving out only one reality which makes Jacob's Ladder a brilliant movie. Jacob's physician Louis probably express the main theme of the movie best in these words: "So, if you're frightened of dying and... and you're holding on, you'll see devils tearing your life away. But if you've made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freeing you from the earth."

I think this movie is unfairly underestimated and not given enough credit. Tim Robbins' performance is flawless and fascinating. Adrian Lyne directed the movie very well; the emotions and the tension that are aimed to be brought about are achieved quite successfully. One interesting fact about the movie is that when you watch it for the second time, you notice a lot of things, which you did not notice or could not make sense out of in the first place.
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