- Language: English
- Subtitles: English, Spanish
- Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Classification: R (Restricted) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (126 customer reviews)
- ASIN: 0784011168
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 107,062 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
Jacob's Ladder [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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In Jacob's Ladder, Vietnam veteran Jacob Singer (Tim Robbins) thinks he is going insane. Or worse. When his nightmares begin spilling into his waking hours, Jacob believes he is experiencing the after-effects of a powerful drug tested on him during Vietnam. Or perhaps his post-traumatic stress disorder is worse than most. Whatever is happening to him, it's not good. Director Adrian Lyne sparks our interest and maintains high production values, but this confusing film chokes on its "surprise" ending. It owes much to Ambrose Bierce's haunting and more straightforward short story, An Occurrence at Owl Creek. Written by Bruce Joel Rubin, who also explored the "other side" in Ghost and My Life, Jacob's Ladder ultimately feels like an exercise in self-indulgence. A spirited performance by Elizabeth Peña outshines Robbins, who is surprisingly lethargic. --Rochelle O'Gorman --This text refers to the Blu-ray edition.
Top customer reviews
The plot is multi-layered, segueing from alternate "realities" to the odd bouts of hallucinations. First layer is Jacob's lurid experience in Vietnam, a sinister battle in Mekong Delta, where his guts were pierced by a deadly bayonet thrust by an unseen assailant; Then, his post-Nam NYC "life" comes with flashbacks showing the days with his girlfriend Jezzie, who is compelled to cope with his intermittent psychotic episodes and gradual mental degeneration; Suddenly, we cut to his pre-Nam days during which he lives happily with his ex-wife and kids. At one point he is visited by his dead son, and haunted by his death scene.
These phantasmagoric trips occur between the pre-Nam/post-Nam worlds and the viewer gets overwhelmingly baffled whether which of these worlds were real and which were fantasy. And in all these worlds, he incessantly struggles to battle his inner demons appearing everywhere in "outside" world. Is he slipping into insanity; are all these mess a result of being doped by a mind-altering drug, making the soldiers hyper-violent war machines during the battle; is there a conspiracy by government to silence him; is he alive or is he dead? What a mishmash... You would be bombarded with such questions, and some red herrings throughout the film.
In terms of technical aspects; masterful camerawork (virtually no computer-generated FX), bland color saturation, unconventional camera angles and ingenious direction by Lyne combine with all these blurred elements to create a haunting picture.
Although the ending seems to be dark and ambiguous, I think the film proves to be intellectually and logically complete. If you see this movie merely as a hapless man's ordeal on physical world, you have missed the main point and I recommend to watch again: look beyond the visuals, don't think the events on a linear time scale and pay a strict attention (especially talkings of Jacob's chiropractor, Dr. Louis) to the hints scattered throughout the movie.
Last word: haunting and mind-blowing. Not for casual movie-goers. Watch it alone in the dark... (4.5/5.0)