Movie Review - Jacob's Ladder., - Tim Robbins, Elizabeth Pena - Directed by Adrian Lyne, 1990

Reviewed by John A. Speyrer.

For years, I had been reading that the movie, Jacob's Ladder was really about birth trauma. I finally got a chance to view it and I agree that it is. It's the story of Jacob Singer, played by Tim Robbins, whose life never returned to normal after Vietnam. The movie viewers as well as the victim are are subjected to recurrent visions of his last most horrendous combat battle. The movie is also about bizarre situations which Singer finds himself experiencing during which demonic forces are seemingly trying to kill him. Themes of death and dying are continuously woven into the fabric of this film.

Indeed, during his depths, Jacob's pleas sound somewhat like my "dying in the birth canal" primals. In his anguish, he cries, "help me," "It's going to kill me," and later,"I don't want to die." and finally, "I was in Hell." In one scene, as he searches for his address book, he opens his desk drawer and what do you know -- the movie viewer gets to see the magazine cover of Childbirth in America. This journal probably doesn't exist but was obviously shown as a clue to movie viewers about the actual source of what's going on.

Jacob eventually finds other members of his platoon suffering the same symptoms. Meeting a fellow Vietnam veteran buddy to discuss their plight, he gets informed by his friend that he fears he will soon be going to hell. Sure enough, his buddy's automobile gets blown up as soon as he turns the ignition key.

So is the movie really about re-living his combat experiences and/or his birth trauma or perhaps something else? I'd rather not say as I don't want to spoil your viewing of Jacob's Ladder.

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