OK, I saw this film for the first time last night, and I, er dont get it!

I understand that he dies during the battle. It’s just the rest of it I can’t get. The other woman he marries, is this all in his head? When did his son die? before or after the battle? So many questions, and me too stupid to know the answes!

Sorry :rolleyes: :rolleyes: I cannot belive I spelt spoiler wrong 3 (THREE) times in the title. Duh boy.

My take: the whole movie was, essentially, an updated version of Ambrose Bierce’s “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” which was later made into an award-winning short film.

Yes, in the brief time before he dies, Tim Robbins (like the doomed soldier in the Bierce story) conjures up an elaborate fantasy, in which he escapes his fate. But in the end, reality and death overtake the fantasy.

His entire post-war life is part of his dying fantasy.

Wow, hmm, I never felt that it was a fantasy, actually. I thought it was some kind of purgatory existence. The fact that the end of the psuedo-life (in the 80’s or 90’s or whenever the film took place) brought us back to the time of his death (in the 70’s, I think) just shows that the last moments can stretch out forever.

I looked at it sort of mystically. :shrug: But, either way, it is a fine movie, and there are some wonderfully creepy parts in it.

I read it a bit differently. As Jacob lies dying from an American bayonet wound and is drifting toward the “afterlife”, his chiropractor, Louie (Danny Aeillo-sorry can’t spell italian), is a symbolic angel and the fulcrum of his future.

This angel, Louie shows Jacob what his life would have been like; [ul][li]Divorced []USPS employee []Living with Jesse (who herself was a demon)[/ul] generally unable to cope had he survived the LSD battlefield test.[/li]
He then shows Jacob what his life would had been like without the Ladder; He would have [ul][li]Become a professor []Never lost his youngest son (who was hit by a car picking up 1975 baseball cards) []Lived in an upscale neighborhood with his family[/ul].[/li]
He shows Jacob both fates as to put him at ease and help him find inner peace. It’s for this reason the director chose to edit alot of the demon scenes out of the final cut and repeat the line (paraphrasing here) “sometimes the demons you think are coming to take your soul are really just angels…”

Anyway, that’s my read. Be forewarned, if you post a similar thread about “The Shining” you’ll get as many takes as there are threads.

The one where the Civil War soldier is about to be hung over a river and the rope breaks and he swims to safety, dodging musket shots only to be snapped back to reality when the floor floors out and he truly is hung? Great film, but because there was no real dialouge, it was very different from Jacob’s Ladder.

I saw this movie when it first came out and the shots of the hyperactive thing glimpsed a few times still freak me out when I think about it now…

But I cast my vote with astorian. I remember sitting there thoroughly impressed by the movie and unable to figure out how it was going to be explained. I thought the ending the only weak point of the movie, but I’ve never been able to conjure up a better one.

Thanks for starting a thread on my favorite bizzarro movie! It has got to be the most spiritual, mystical movie about mind-boggling drugs that is filled to the brim with thrills, chills, & spills. But that Hospital from Hell scene—aaaughgh! I can’t look at it. The possibility of it being real—that’s what could happen when a real hospital goes bad—is just too vivid.

You’re right, the key phrase to understanding the whole imbroglio was Danny Aiello’s quote from Meister Eckhardt about demons changing into angels come to free your soul. I thought Jacob’s deceased son at the very end, leading him up the stairs into the Light (a peaceful afterlife) was the angel that had been foretold. Perhaps all along he had been trying to reach his dad and lead him to Heaven, but Jacob had been caught in the grip of illusions that made his angelic son appear as a demon.

The nonlinear time scales of Jacob’s Ladder form much more complex, intertwined patterns than in Owl Creek Bridge. Think of Bierce’s story crossed with Slaughterhouse-Five. Remeber how Billy Pilgrim “came unstuck in time”?

In the Bierce story, Peyton Farquhar was a spy, not a soldier </nitpick>

Do you really think Jessie (Jezebel) was a demoness? Just because something demonic vomited forth from her mouth while she was dirty-dancing? I don’t know, maybe she was just another illusion, but I didn’t care because, mi Dios, that Elizabeth Peña is one ¡mujer caliente! Now you’ve all got me wanting to see JL again.

I saw this movie in the theatre. I remember being totally wierded out, then dying laughing when Jacob got mugged by Santa! I have to agree I couldnt watch the Hospital scene. I would tend to agree with JohnBckWLD’s interpretation and the Slaughter-House Five (one of my favorite books) analogy. Its been years since I saw it but every now and then I find myself thinking of the scene with his son leading him up the ladder… I think that maybe the highest compliment I can pay a movie.

I do:[list=1]
[li]She’s way too sexy to be an angel.[/li][li]“You’re a heathen Jesse”.[/li][li]The image of the burning pictures in the incinerator.[/li][li]Not only dirty dancing, Jacob envisioning her getting off with a serpent to Lady Marmelade in a very strange apt. of her friends / hosts.[/li][li]Their black dog[/li][li]She represented all that was unhappy about Jacobs life. He was with her in all the unhappy “course of life” scenes and with his wife and family in the happy “course of life” scenes.[/li]
I know some of those are a real stretch…but these 2 aren’t

[li]She was assisting the demonic surgeons[/li][li]Most importantly her eyes in the scene where she’s hollering at him to get out of the house and get some fresh air. If I remember correctly, they completely changed into serpent-like orbs as she was screaming in his face “Hello, is there anyone in there,” the second before he pushed her away.[/list=1][/li]
Effin’ creepy

Great movie, for those of you who liked the “creepiness” factor of, it, check out the directors cut. It is included on the DVD version I have, and I first learned about it when they showed it on HBO many years ago (1993?).

The cut scenes are intense. In the cut portion of the story, that chemist he meets gives him “the cure” for the ladder. He goes through a royally F-ed up hallucination sequence. Yipes.

There is some more in the directors cut, but I don’t remember all of it off the top of my head.