Mourning his dead child, a haunted Vietnam War veteran attempts to uncover his past while suffering from a severe case of dissociation. To do so, he must decipher reality and life from his own dreams, delusions, and perceptions of death.
Jacob Singer is trying to make sense of his fractured life and memories. Plagued by hallucinations, flashbacks, and conspiracies, he struggles down a path to enlightenment from these manic strains. With nothing but support from friends and loved ones will he be able to push through the haze of his PTSD.
The confrontation between Jacob and Geary originally takes place in a courtroom corridor. Lyne moved them to the stairs in order to downplay the height difference between Tim Robbins (who is 6' 5") and Jason Alexander (who is 5' 5"). See more »
Louis shouts out for "Jacob Stinger" at one point when he is demanding Jacob's release from hospital. See more »
The credits roll over a grainy black and white photo of Gabe and Jacob crossing the street together. See more »
After initial test audiences reported that the film was overwhelming, director Adrian Lyne cut out twenty minutes of material, almost all of which came from the last third of the film. Four major sequences were removed after Jacob first meets Michael; a scene where Michael gives him an antidote for the Ladder, a scene where Jacob thinks he is cured but turns out not to be; a scene where he goes to Michael's apartment and finds Michael decapitated; and a scene just prior to his final meeting with Gabe, where he meets Jezzie, who shows her true form. See more »
It has a highly intelligent plot though not difficult or artsy and is void of cliches. It therefore confuses and aggravates many viewers and professional reviewers always wanting a standard has-it-all Hollywood outpouring.
It is so few films that leaves room for independent thoughts. Jacob's Ladder tumbles your mind the same way a dream of your own does. I have never felt this effect in a film so strong before. The images comes pouring in and your brain tries to make sense of it. Whenever you think you have a grasp it slides away again.
The brilliance of the progression of the story, twists and turns, and the final explanation, so obvious but elusive as real dreams are, makes it on par with the best of Kubrick.
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