(I) (1990)

Critic Reviews



Based on 20 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
This movie left me reeling with turmoil and confusion, with feelings of sadness and despair. Those are the notes it strives for.
Truly frightening and visually unique, this messy, challenging film is anchored by Tim Robbins' remarkable performance.
I wouldn't go so far as to classify Jacob's Ladder as a masterpiece, but it is smart and compelling and unquestionably worth a first or second look.
Chicago Tribune
There's little doubt that Jacob's Ladder is a failure-it's a messy, unsatisfying and often overreaching film-yet it fails in interesting, ambitious ways. It's a must-see disaster. [2 Nov 1990, p.C]
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
Jacob's Ladder is a cheat - but a talented, disturbing, beguiling cheat. We don't know we've been truly had until it's finally over, when the screen fades and the lights rise and we wake up with a start, deliciously unnerved. [2 Nov 1990, p.D3]
USA Today
One sits through Ladder halfway engrossed, though always with a sense that its impending punchline will render the preceding an industrial- strength put-on. Then again, there are people out there who thought Ghost was profound. [2 Nov 1990, p.6D]
Despite all the confusion, it's a simple case of the script being too ambitious. It may emulate a man experiencing flashbacks, but it doesn't help the audience.
San Francisco Chronicle
If you ask too many questions about Jacob's Ladder, you're likely to burst the bubble. For all its emotional sizzle and spit, it leaves you hanging. Yet the ride to Lyne's middle-of-nowhere is almost worth it. [2 Nov 1990, p.E1]
Wall Street Journal
As a metaphysical exploration of otherworldliness, Jacob's Ladder has a kind of morbid intensity, for those who like that sort of thing. The picture flounders, however, with its insistence on injecting a little politics into the paranormal brew. [1Nov 1990, p.A20]
Boston Globe
The strength of Jacob's Ladder is that we never know what the next scene will be. But that's also its weakness. We don't feel involved with the characters here. We just feel jerked around. Jacob's Ladder, finally, is bummer theater. [2 Nov 1990, p.73]
The movie, a piece of luridly baroque metaphysical trash, is about a Vietnam veteran who keeps getting jolted by demonic visions.
Los Angeles Times
Really effective horror films make us participants in the horror. Jacob's Ladder doesn't draw us in in that way. It's a movie about interior states that's all on the outside. [30 Oct 1990, p.1]

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