Mourning his dead child, a haunted Vietnam war veteran attempts to discover his past while suffering from a severe case of dissociation. To do so, he must decipher reality and life from his own dreams, delusion, and perception of death.
After a car wreck on the winding Mulholland Drive renders a woman amnesiac, she and a perky Hollywood-hopeful search for clues and answers across Los Angeles in a twisting venture beyond dreams and reality.
New York postal worker Jacob Singer is trying to keep his frayed life from unraveling. His days are increasingly being invaded by flashbacks to his first marriage, his now-dead son, and his tour of duty in Vietnam. Athough his new wife tries to help Jacob keep his grip on sanity, the line between reality and delusion is steadily growing more and more uncertain. Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <email@example.com>
Adrian Lyne also heavily rewrote the scene involving the biblical Jacob's ladder at the end of the film. Writer Bruce Joel Rubin had written the scene to involve a massive staircase ascending into the clouds, with crowds of people lining it, towering columns, and huge gates at the summit. Again however, Lyne felt that such an image could come across as preposterous (he refers to Rubin's original conception as the Liberace scene' on the DVD commentary track). As such, Lyne rewrote the scene to involve simply the staircase in Jacob's house, basing this on the principal that heaven is wherever you were happiest. See more »
To match the direction of movement, a shot of the Ford LTD racing around a corner has been flopped, but the license plate, which is now in reverse, is visible. See more »
What's it say?
[Reading the thermometer]
Oh my God! I'm calling the Doctor!
What's it say?
It's gone to the top!
[On the phone]
Hello Dr. Forest! I'm so sorry to bother you! This is Jezzie Pimpkin up in 14G! I just took Jake's temperature and it's up to 106, could that be right?Oh my God!
[gets off the phone and starts running a bath]
Get out of bed!
I can't! I'm FREEZING!
See more »
The credits roll over a grainy black and white photo of Gabe and Jacob crossing the street together. See more »
This is a superbly crafted film that transcends mere entertainment and becomes an experience much greater than the sum of its parts. When you watch this movie, you are unleashing a very powerful force that short-circuits your natural ability to remain in control. It is like hypnotism, you have no choice...you are unable to think, act, or even believe apart from the intense feelings Jacob's Ladder inspires.
Tim Robbins is Jacob Singer, a warm and genuinely likable Vietnam veteran who, in spite of earning a doctoral degree, chooses to find employment working for the U.S. Postal Service. We learn in bits and pieces as the plot unfolds that his service in Vietnam included a very frightening battle, and the events set in motion on that fateful day parallel what could be his descent into madness.
Jacob's life suddenly begins to resemble Hell. He is literally chased by confusion, fear, and death, he sees unbelievably terrifying images, has horrific experiences that whether real or imagined are too frightening to bear alone. His only comfort comes in the form of the woman he lives with, Jezzie (Elizabeth Pena), and his chiropractor, Louis (Danny Aiello). Each of these people's relationships with Jacob represent more than just the roles they fulfill in his life, they are absolute forces at battle for his sanity, and possibly even his soul.
His torment begins to include the past as well, the undeniable love he still has for his ex-wife and painful memories of his son Gabe, who died tragically in an accident (played by a young and virtually undiscovered Macauley Culkin). As all these elements of the past, present and future collide in shocking hallucinations, Jacob slowly begins to suspect he could be the victim of a secret Army drug experiment gone terribly wrong.
With a haunted desperation, he embarks on a journey to find out what on earth happened to him - only his visions / flashbacks / flashforwards have become so delusional that reality and fantasy are hopelessly interwoven and nothing is as it seems. All that is decipherable is good and evil, life and death. And at the end of his nightmare, all he has to do is choose.
That's all I will share of the story. I'm not going to do you the disservice of spoiling the experience this movie is. Suffice it to say, there is much more to know, and nothing left to tell.
Meanwhile, there is not enough that can be said of Robbins' performance...although he has had better roles, never before or since has he portrayed his own emotions so nakedly. This is director Adrian Lyne's best by far, and by the way he's no slouch (Fatal Attraction, 9 1/2 Weeks).
This is not a horror movie as some may think, it is human drama masterfully disguised as a supernatural thriller. The basic elements of Jacob's Ladder have been plundered several times in recent years. We have been suckered by flashy films with clever plot twists that cheat us on story, characters, and technical excellence. This film delivers all that and more. Movies like this are set apart from the rest of the pack because you don't just watch stuff like this, you feel it too.
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