(I) (1990)

Critic Reviews

62

Metascore

Based on 20 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
91
Tim Robbins gives a strong performance in this first-class horror yarn, which has a surprisingly strong political edge.
90
The ending of Jacob's Ladder, when it finally arrives, is, like much of the film, both quaint and devastating.
88
This movie left me reeling with turmoil and confusion, with feelings of sadness and despair. Those are the notes it strives for.
88
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.
88
Truly frightening and visually unique, this messy, challenging film is anchored by Tim Robbins' remarkable performance.
80
Chicago Reader
Thanks to a remarkable script by Bruce Joel Rubin and the directorial skills of Adrian Lyne, this works as both a highly effective stream-of-consciousness puzzle thriller offering the viewer not one but many "solutions" and an emotionally persuasive statement about the plight of many American vets who fought in Vietnam.
60
True to his resume, director Lyne produces a frenetic battery of visceral images, ominous music and that ol' faithful standby, the eerie background chorus. To give Lyne his relentless due, this does make for some heart-thumping moments. But it also causes Ladder to fall ultimately flat on its surrealistic face, the victim of too many fake-art sequences.
60
Empire
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.
30
Variety
Jacob's Ladder means to be a harrowing thriller about a Vietnam vet (Tim Robbins) bedeviled by strange visions, but the $40 million production is dull, unimaginative and pretentious.
30
Here, Lyne indulges more in misdirection than in direction; he's a magician turning a sleazy trick. But even his technical skill breaks down. The picture is garbled and cliched.

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