Jacob’s Ladder (1990)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.  

USA, 1990.  Carolco Pictures.  Screenplay by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .

Years after he served in Vietnam,  is trying to put his life together while at the same time outrunning his past. He has left behind his academic work, his wife and children after his son (a very young Macaulay Culkin) died and is now working for the post office and living with his new girlfriend (). Even more troublesome is that he is beginning to have nightmarish visions of demons haunting him everywhere he goes, constantly feeling his life in danger and suspecting that it might have something to do with chemical experiments that were done on him during the war. He attempts to investigate the matter by looking for his fellow combat soldiers but his path takes him only further into danger. Adrian Lyne’s mystical, war-themed drama has a lot going for it, including some truly terrifying scenes that chill to the very bone; he’s a strong enough director to make something oddly coherent out of Bruce Joel Rubin’s random musings of a screenplay, but what promises to be an exciting twist in the film’s conclusion is really not as memorable as it’s cracked up to be; it actually feels like the copout of an artist who has painted themselves into a corner (and, SPOILER ALERT, read An Incident At Owl Creek Bridge a few too many times). Robbins is a bit too dull for the lead, but it is a sincere performance, and Pena does a crack job as the woman who is watching him fall completely apart and is unable to do anything about it.


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