If movies rife with lurid and surreal imagery interest you, then "Jacob's Ladder" should be on your must-see movies list.
This, seriously creepy, dark psychological thriller, directed by Adriane Lyne is a work of hallucinatory brilliance, and also one of his best, yet criminally underrated.
Jacob Singer(Tim Robbins) is a Vietnam War veteran who lives in New York City with his girlfriend Jezebel(Elizabeth Pena). We soon come to know that he was married but is separated from his wife Sarah. Jacob lives a seemingly normal life, and keeps visiting his friend and chiropractor Louis (Danny Aiello) from time to time. But this supposedly usual scheme of things seems to take a scary turn when he starts seeing bizarre things around him. He cannot tell whether those things really exist or are merely a hallucination. He also keeps having haunting visions of his war experience and the memories of his dead son and former wife. Little by little, he realizes that he is slowly losing his grip on reality...
"Jacob's Ladder" has a beautifully bleak atmosphere throughout that is essential for the story being told. Jeffrey L. Kimball's cinematography further strengthens this quality of the film. The war sequences from Jacob's memories are shown in a colour tone distinct from the present.
Maurice Jarre's chilling background score also sets the perfect mood for this film.
Adriane Lyne directs brilliantly, considering this is his first and only film in the genre. He packs in some spectacularly ghastly, disturbing imagery that is certain to give other so-called horror flicks a run for their money. Wish he would make more films like this.
Tim Robbins, familiar to millions already, gives one of his finest performances in this film. The growing confusion about the mysterious on-goings around him and his gradual slipping away into insanity are wonderfully portrayed by the talented actor.
Supporting actors do a great job as well.
Elizabeth Pena is great; it is strange one doesn't see much of her.
Pruitt Taylor Vince, Jason Alexander, Danny Aiello, Matt Craven and Ving Rhames appear in small roles but deliver very impressive performances.
Do watch "Jacob's Ladder". It is an unforgettable ride through hell!