I recently sat down to watch this and was reminded of how much movies have changed in many respects. Quite simply, a film like this would never be made today. Indeed, back when the film was originally released, the reception was muted. However, over the years it has attained some degree of a cult following and I can see why. There is something very odd about the movie in general, quite apart from its subject matter.
Jacob’s Ladder was released in 1990 and directed by British director, Adrian Lyne. It concerns the strange and hallucinatory experiences of Jacob, played by Tim Robbins. In part, the story is derived from the tale, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge written by American author, Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914). There is also some inspiration from the work of Francis Bacon - especially in terms of the creature designs. The haunting and evocative music was written by Maurice Jarre, one of the greatest films composers ever - although having said that, his work on Jacob’s Ladder (apart from the main piano theme) feels more like something he may have been commissioned to do between other scores. It’s not his best work but it does work well within the confines of the film. The gritty exteriors of late 1980s New York (a world that has vanished now) are all there on screen and work very well. The subway sequence near the beginning is also very nice.
The problem writing about the movie is that it is very difficult to do so without giving too much away. The story revolves around the ideas of parting, loss and the possibility of the after-life. If these things appeal to you, I highly recommend the film. You can pick it up here.