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Revisiting 1990: Jacob’s Ladder

September 10, 2010

Considered For: Top 5

“Mr. Singer. What an appropriate name for a man that can’t shut up.”

Plot: Jacob Singer (Tim Robbins) is a traumatized Vietnam war vet that finds himself experiencing hallucinations when he returns to “normal” life in New York City.

I think Roger Ebert said it best when he stated that Jacob’s Ladder “was not a pleasant experience, but it was exhilarating in the sense that I was able to observe filmmakers working at the edge of their abilities and inspirations.” This was a tough movie to sit through. Between the swift editing that jumps from one point in time to another with no explanation and Jacob’s increasingly bizarre hallucinations throughout the film, it’s hard to get a grasp on what’s going on. It’s not an easy film to follow and as a result, it’s certainly not for everyone. There’s some good, scary imagery in this movie and Tim Robbins gives a decent performance. There’s a big twist in this movie, but the pay off isn’t that great if you have an idea what it is already before you start watching the movie. I admittedly struggled to get through this one and was thankful when it was over. It’s not a bad movie by any means, but it’s not an easy watch and I wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend it.

Grade: C
Viewings: 1
Replay Value: I’ll probably never watch it again, but I can see the appeal of multiple viewings.
Sequel Potential: None.
Oscars?: No nominations.
Nudity?: Elizabeth Pena plays one of Jacob’s love interests and spends the vast majority of her scenes naked. Probably the best thing about the movie.

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