Jacob's Ladder [1990]

Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery
Vietnam veteran Jacob Singer (Tim Robbins) thinks he is going insane. Or worse. When his nightmares begin spilling into his waking hours, Jacob believes he is experiencing the aftereffects of a powerful drug tested on him during Vietnam. Or perhaps his posttraumatic stress disorder is worse than most. Whatever is happening to him, it is not good. Director Adrian Lyne sparks our interest and maintains high production values, but this confusing film chokes on its "surprise" ending. It owes much to Ambrose Bierce's haunting and more straightforward story, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek." Written by Bruce Joel Rubin, who also explored the "other side" in Ghost and My Life, it ultimately feels like an exercise in self-indulgence. A spirited performance by Elizabeth Peña outshines Robbins, who is surprisingly lethargic. --Rochelle O'Gorman

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