Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The MARCH of Death, Day 16: Jacob's Ladder

Depending on when you watch Jacob’s Ladder, what kind of mood you may be in, and certainly if you are under the influence of any kind of mind altering substance your experience will vary. I was 16 years old when this film hobbled into the multiplex on a very short lived theatrical release. God bless my mother, who loved sharing these types of films with me. I remember this afternoon out vividly, because it was the first time I had ever seen my mother shaken to her core by a film. Now granted, my father was a Vietnam Vet, and although I have still never asked; I often wonder to this day if my mom saw a little bit of my dad in poor old Jacob Singer. I have experienced this film on so many different occasions and on so many different levels, it’s actually difficult to review. As stated above, Jacob’s Ladder changes in effect each time you view it. I believe that this is a film that grows with the viewer and should be watched frequently throughout one’s life. I know, I’m getting too deep and over thinking this a bit; or am I? Depending on your lens at the time, the movie can be seen in many different ways: cautionary war tale, tragic love story, the diary of a grieving parent, psychedelic mind blitz, man’s downward spiral into insanity, the hopeless battle against one’s inner demons. In Jacob Singer, we have a returning Vietnam soldier coping with the recent death of his young son, his relationship with his ex-wife, his current girlfriend, pain and guilt, shell shock, and reacclimating himself back into “real” life. It’s a tragedy on the grandest Shakespearian scale. As Jacob’s “hallucinations” become more intense, the viewer begins to lose their footing on the rabbit hole walls and fall deeper with him into oblivion. Shocking, heartbreaking, highly sexualized, and relentless in it’s attack on your senses it’s a film that leaves you thinking (just like Jacob) did I really see what I thought I just saw?

Jacob’s Ladder

Director: Adrian Lyne
Starring: Tim Robbins and Elizabeth Pena

9/10 Farmhouses ~ Chris Conduit

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