Jacob's Ladder Reviews

Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
August 23, 2014
It's weird and surreal, but it ends with most of the holes plugged and all but a few of the loose ends tied into a tidy package. Some argue this is a cheat and the film should have been more open ended. That's a personal choice; I like it the way it is.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
John Hartl
Seattle Times
August 23, 2014
For hours and days after you've seen it, you'll still be putting it together in your head. While all of it is gripping, it doesn't come together until the final scene, which is jolting, transcendent, unexpected yet inevitable.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Dave Kehr
Chicago Tribune
August 23, 2014
As long as the movie refuses to commit itself, it is a truly creepy, nerve-jangling experience.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Peter Rainer
Los Angeles Times
August 23, 2014
In the best puzzle movies, the pieces fit -- eventually. But if you try to piece together Jacob's Ladder, all you get for your trouble is more pieces.
Top Critic
Jay Boyar
Orlando Sentinel
August 23, 2014
Without a strongly sympathetic figure at the center of the movie, Jacob's plight seems very remote. Watching this film should feel like being caught in a nightmare, but it feels more like watching someone else who is caught in a nightmare.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Gene Siskel
Chicago Tribune
August 23, 2014
[Robbins' and Pena's] scenes together are the highlight of the film, so natural, so bright. That's why we're willing to invest a lot of time in what turns out to be a terribly overwrought plot.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
August 23, 2014
There's a word for a movie that dresses up the usual cheap tricks with real human suffering and a bogus patina of truth: offensive.
Top Critic
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
August 23, 2014
A friend, after seeing Jacob's Ladder, griped, "I wasn't afraid of dying -- until I saw this movie." Put that blurb in an ad and see who shows up at the multiplexes.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
September 7, 2011
Jacob's Ladder is the nightmare as Rube Goldberg machine. Lyne bombards us with omens and portents, but they aren't rooted in anything, and so the audience remains in a state of arbitrary, floating anxiety.
Full Review | Original Score: C-
Top Critic
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
March 27, 2009
A bold, powerful psychological horror film.
Top Critic
Variety Staff
Variety
June 19, 2008
Dull, unimaginative and pretentious.
Top Critic
Steve Grant
Time Out
June 24, 2006
Lyne's giddying, unsettling direction conjures up moments of horrifying hallucinogenic power from the bad-trip hell of his protagonist.
Top Critic
Janet Maslin
New York Times
May 20, 2003
A slick, riveting, viscerally scary film about what in other hands would be a decidedly unsalable subject, namely death.
Top Critic
Hal Hinson
Washington Post
January 1, 2000
Lyne indulges more in misdirection than in direction; he's a magician turning a sleazy trick.
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
January 1, 2000
This movie 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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Desson Thomson
Washington Post
January 1, 2000
[Falls] ultimately flat on its surrealistic face, the victim of too many fake-art sequences.