Jacob's Ladder

Jacob's Ladder


Jacob's Ladder is a film which draws specific conclusions on exactly what takes
place in a person right before death, and the afterlife which await them. Hell
is seen as a temporary stop where people's memories and attachments are taken
away so that they can enter heaven cleansed of their past life in order that a
new beginning can be had. Death is seen as something that should not be feared,
it only makes your inevitable transition into the next world more difficult,
while being at peace with yourself at death allows the transition to your
afterlife to run smoothly without remorse. Heaven is seen as a good place, a
place of inner tranquillity where there is no pain. The cultural attitudes of
this film in respect to death and afterlife have undertones of the Christian
attitudes toward death and afterlife, although large differences do exist. The
central cultural attitudes toward death and afterlife in this film can be summed
up by a quotation from Jake's chiropractor (who can also be seen as his guardian
angel), who said, "The only thing that burns in hell is the part of you that
won't let go of your life, your memories, your attachments, they burn it all
away. But they aren't punishing you, they're freeing your soul." The
chiropractor also says that the way he sees it, "If you're frightened of dieing
and you keep trying to hold on you'll see devils tearing your life away. If
you've made your peace then the devils are really angels, freeing you from the
earth." The film Jacob's Ladder uses the character of Jacob Singer to
demonstrate how the film's creators view death and afterlife. The central
character in the film is a man by the name of Jacob Singer (Jake), who is in
Vietnam in 1971 fighting for the U.S. against the Vietcong. The film begins with
a surprise attack by the Vietcong on the American camp which started a furious
gun fight with heavy casualties. Jake is himself severely wounded in the stomach,
which as you find out later is a mortal wound of which he is dieing. The rest
of the film appears to take place over a period of days to weeks or at least
that is how Jake perceives it to be, however as far as time goes this is all
taking place between the time that he was wounded and the time that he dies
(probably a few hours). All of what Jake sees he believes to be real, but it is
really hell that his mind\soul has been taken to in order that his feelings and
attachments to the life he is about to leave can be taken away. Jake wakes up
from a dream where he had been thinking back to that time in Vietnam, and he
realises that he is on a subway with strange demon-like individuals. The subway
represents the way he is transported from this life to hell although he does not
realise this, he believes that it is after the war and he is coming back from
work like any normal day. After getting off the subway, Jake goes home to his
girlfriend Jezebel. Jake believes he has been divorced from his wife Sara for
some time and that she through him out. Jake looks at old pictures of Sara and
his son's Gabe and Jed, he cries when he looks at them, because he misses them.
Jezebel became annoyed with Jake's love for his former family and takes the
pictures and burns them. All of this that Jake takes to be reality is really
hell, Jezebel is really a devil (demon) including everyone else Jake encounters
(accept the chiropractor who is his guardian angel). They are all trying to
erase his memories and attachments to his past life so that his soul can be
freed from earth and can enter heaven. This is why Jezebel burns the family
pictures, so that Jake will not remember his family, to erase his memory of
them.

From time to time in the film Jake will flashback to memories of Vietnam during
that period of time when he was wounded and being brought to the hospital.
Almost like little images or clips that he picked up as he came in and out of
consciousness. These images that he recalls are really Jake's periods of
greatest resistance to death, where he is fighting hell's attempts at taking his
memories and attachments. During these periods throughout the film Jake is
really coming back to life for brief moments. The harder Jake tries to fight his
inevitable death the worse and more bizarre his experiences become in hell, as
the demons