Jacob’s Ladder (1990)

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WRITING (Bruce Joel Rubin): This film is a trip. The connections to the Bible give the entire plot of this film. Knowledge of the Bible isn’t very much necessary to understand the plot. Louis pretty much describes the most important detail and the central conflict in the story; Jacob trying to fight the disconnection of his time on Earth. It’s an excellent addition to the film that becomes the main foundation of the story. It’s not all handed to you and you need to do some critical thinking to completely understand it. However, the dialogue is a bit clunky in this film. It’s awkward in points and sometimes doesn’t fit entirely. But it’s rare moments when that happens. 8/10

PERFORMANCES (Adrian Lyne): Tim Robbins is excellent as the lead of the film. I wouldn’t say he’s the perfect person for it, but he does an amazing job. Some of the minor cast is iffy, but the majority of the cast fit their roles well. 8/10

CINEMATOGRAPHY (Jeffrey L. Kimball): The cinematography for this film is excellent, sometimes the film even relies on it to deliver some messaging, such as the demonic hospital returning when Jacob finds Michael. Also, the shot of Jacob in the bathtub with his eyes wide open is an iconic shot that is excellently composed. There are some subtly beautiful shots in this film that make it looks visually stunning. 10/10

EDITING (Tom Rolf): The use of the editing in this film is excellent. Fast cuts are used to show chaos and confusion and it knows how to not use editing to show scares. There is only a single jump scare in this film and it’s used pretty creatively. Dialogue is also well-edited, making everything blend seamlessly. 10/10

VISUAL EFFECTS (Harold McConnell Jr.): I am very impressed by the amazing practical effects that went into this movie, and the fact that almost everything was done in-camera. The fast head movements was one of the more impressive, with it being done through filming at a lower FPS. The use of it in some scenes, such as the car driving by with the demon in the back. 10/10

ENJOYMENT: This film is a great time, especially trying to figure out the mystery behind everything. I love movies where I can try to piece things together, this being one of them. The end is also satisfying, giving us a conclusion and catharsis to Jacob’s story. Not to mention, the scares were very well-done. There was only one jump scare and it was one of the better ones in cinema. Most scares were used in creative ways that never felt cheap. 10/10

MUSICAL SCORE (Maurice Jarre): I found really nothing interesting with this score. Yes, it fit, but it mostly felt like filler that didn’t really add anything to the overall film. It didn’t heighten or feel unique in any way. 5/10

SOUND (T.J. O’Mara): The sound was fine in this film. Nothing sounded off or out of place. Also, the one jump scare in the film didn’t feel cheap because there was no nondiegetic sound used. It was very well-done, well-mixed, and sounded excellent. 10/10

PRODUCTION DESIGN (Brian Morris): The design of everything is really astounding. The demons had a very interesting design that was very ambiguous. The demonic hospital was one of the more interesting sets of the whole film, giving us a very creative-looking and intense scene. 10/10

OVERALL: ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ is a film that gives us an eerie depiction of the journey from Earth to heaven, aboard Jacob’s Ladder. It could use some fine tweaking and a more interesting score, but overall it’s fantastic.


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