‘Jacob’s Ladder’ Reboot Acquired by Vertical Entertainment

It’s been a long time since some news has come out regarding the reboot of the 1990 mind bending thriller Jacob’s Ladder but Dateline has the scoop revealing that the David M. Rosenthal-directed movie will be released by Vertical Entertainment.

“In Rosenthal’s Jacob’s Ladder, Jacob Singer is getting his life back together after his brother is killed in Afghanistan. Jacob has a beautiful wife, a newborn child and a successful career as surgeon in a VA hospital. When a stranger approaches Jacob and reveals that his brother is actually alive and living in an underground shelter with other homeless vets, Jacob’s life starts to unravel. He begins hallucinating, believes he is being followed by violent attackers and becomes paranoid about the truth of what really happened to his brother. When he discovers that his brother is alive and addicted to an experimental drug, he uncovers a secret he never could have been prepared for.”

Michael Ealy (The Intruder) is set to star alongside Guy Burnet (Counterpart), Jesse Williams (Grey’s AnatomyThe Cabin in the Woods), Nicole Beharie (Sleepy Hollow), and Karla Souza (How to Get Away with Murder) in the recently completed production.

The film is expected to have an early release window in July via the DISH satellite TV network, with a full theatrical release in August this year.

So, full disclosure, Jacob’s Ladder is one of my top five favourite movies of all time; it spoke to an era that just doesn’t exist anymore, where war fatigue from America’s unpopular campaign in Vietnam had given way to the grim realities of blue collar life in the 70’s and 80’s. Haunting doubts in the political system translated into paranoia and conspiracy theory in the minds of many while a rapidly changing society left more and more people anchorless in the face of the future.

None more so than military veterans who now had the job of building a life away from the things they’d seen overseas.

While there’s been a worthwhile slew of modern war films that deal with difficult subjects like post-traumatic stress and ex-soldiers retraining themselves into civilian life, Vietnam still earns a special place in the collective imagination; the modern cynic is well immunised to the notion that war is not always in the interests of a nation’s immediate security, but in the 60’s through to the 80’s, it was a difficult pill to swallow for many who were there and the aftershocks would be felt for decades to come, both on a personal level and as a part of the everchanging world views of those who witnessed it.

There were also shifts in spirituality during this time; Eastern philosophies were entering Western public consciousness and upending centuries of dogma; while people were first experimenting with meditation and Yoga, previously unknown teachers spoke openly of reincarnation and rebirth challenging orthodox views of the afterlife and God with new perspectives from ancient ideas. Jacob’s Ladder pulls these disparate ideas together rather pointedly, beneath the disguise of a thriller? A horror story? A conspiracy tale? Every viewer is likely to have their own interpretation but excellent direction and performances from Lyne and Robbins (and of course, everyone’s personal guardian angel Danny Aiello) say above all that this is a good movie first and foremost. It’s ambiguous because the unknown is ambiguous by definition, but nonetheless you follow the ride because it’s damned fascinating and the characters matter.

My point is, I can’t see how a reboot can possibly work; even with an incredible cast and on-point writing, what is the aim of naming a new project after this old thing, barely remembered and rarely referenced? It doesn’t speak to this generation, nor reflect its hopes and dreams. The wars are different, the return home different again. I don’t think there is peace to be had in today’s world, in the act of simply letting go when one’s time is done.

As this remake proves, perhaps.

Anyway, that’s my long-winded get-off-my-lawn-whippersnappers rant on the subject, but hey who knows, right Wasteoids?

What are your thoughts on a Jacob’s Ladder reboot?

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