Adrian Lyne’s movie Jacob’s Ladder from the early nineties is quite a good piece of disturbing, but yet intense and inspiring film, which shifts restlessly from the stark brutality of Vietnam to happy memories of playing with Gabriel, Jacob’s son, from terrifying, surrealistic glimpses of selfmade horror to ordinary life with Jezebel, Jacob’s wife, in New York.
Jacob is told that the horrific events he experienced on his final day in Vietnam were the product of an experimental drug called “The Ladder”, which was used on troops without their knowledge. Jacob is told this by Michael, who is later seen treating his wounds in a Medevac helicopter. He is told that the drug was named for its ability to cause “a fast trip straight down the ladder, right to the primal fear, right to the base anger.”
Eckhart saw Hell too. He said: The only thing that burns in Hell is the part of you that won’t let go of life, your memories, your attachments. They burn them all away. But they’re not punishing you, he said. They’re freeing your soul. So, if you’re frightened of dying and… and you’re holding on, you’ll see devils tearing your life away. But if you’ve made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freeing you from the earth.
At the end of the film, a message is displayed mentioning the testing of a drug named BZ, NATO code for a deliriant and hallucinogen known as 3-quinuclidinyl benzilate that was rumored to have been administered to U.S. troops by the government in a secret attempt to increase their fighting power. The effects of BZ, however, are different from the effects of the drug depicted in Jacob’s Ladder. The film’s director Adrian Lyne himself noted that “nothing … suggests that the drug BZ—a super-hallucinogen that has a tendency to elicit maniac behavior—was used on U.S. troops.”
|Directed by||Adrian Lyne|
|Produced by||Alan Marshall|
|Written by||Bruce Joel Rubin|
Pruitt Taylor Vince
|Music by||Maurice Jarre|
|Cinematography||Jeffrey L. Kimball|
|Edited by||Tom Rolf|
|Distributed by||TriStar Pictures|
Video: Jacob’s Ladder