The original script for Jacob's Ladder called for traditional religious imagery, such as a literal stairway to heaven and a fiery hell with horned demons. Director Adrian Lyne opted for a more ambiguous approach, to the point that viewers might ask, Wait, why is this part of the Monks Amid Society film series? (Short answer: Writer Bruce Joel Rubin drew inspiration from The Tibetan Book of the Dead, which describes a conscious transition between death and rebirth.) Jacob's Ladder documents the waking nightmares of Vietnam veteran Jacob Singer (Tim Robbins). As a harrowed Singer struggles to stay lucid during surreal visions, Lyne twists and turns chronology to keep viewers guessing. He also makes his hero's nightmares look distressingly real. (That jittery swivel-head effect from Silent Hill and Saw started here.) Jacob's Ladder screens at the Durwood Film Vault, inside the Central Branch of the Kansas City Public Library (14 West 10th Street, 816-701-3400), at 6:30 p.m.
Mon., March 23, 6:30 p.m., 2009