- Fridge Brilliance:
Louie: If you're frightened of dying, 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. It's just a matter of how you look at it, that's all. So don't worry, okay?
- As mentioned by Adrian Lyne, Jacob never appears in the same frame as any of the visions of demons. Because they are visions.
- As pointed out on the main page, we only see the bayonet Jacob is stabbed with early in the film, not who was holding it. Anyone who served in Vietnam or has an interest in military memorabilia would instantly recognize it as being the type of bayonet that was carried by U.S. servicemen, and not NVA or Vietcong.
- All the scenes supposedly set in "the present day" (1982) don't have any of the technology that was fairly common: the radios and stereos look somewhat old-fashioned, there's no computers at all (and even in the 1980s in offices they were becoming prevalent)...in other words, exactly what one would expect from someone imagining the whole thing from two decades earlier. The Cars are one of the other giveaways as everyone seems to drive a late 60s or earlier automobile. On that note it's worth pointing out that the cars driven by the government agents are always swerving violently and out of control; which kind of gains new meaning after we find out what killed his son.
- Louie, Jacob's chiropractor, has this bit of metaphysical musing when talking with Jacob.
- This has led viewers to conclude that Louie himself is an angel, and his chosen profession reflects that. Getting your spine cracked or realigned hurts, but if you relax and let the doctor do his job, it hurts a lot less — and it's such a relief once it's done.
- Jezzie burning all of Jacob's photos of the past makes utter sense when you realize Jezzie is Jacob, and it's a part of his letting go.
- The Bad Doctor and Louie. They're both manifesting as medical professionals for the same reason, but where Louie is comforting and gentle, the Bad Doctor is cold, detached, methodical and impatient. This is shown also in their practice: Louie is a chiropractor, which depends very much on hands-on treatment, usually over a long period of time, and depends very much on the patient's trust. The Bad Doctor is a surgeon. Surgery requires steadiness, knowledge, and being desensitized to seeing blood and gore. This also informs Louie condemning the other medical staff as being barbaric and cruel. He's right. The other angels are barbaric and cruel; Jacob is resisting their treatment, but they're not trying to soothe his fears to get him to accept his death, they're trying to tear his life out of his hands.
- The hospital scene makes complete sense on Rewatch Bonus: the body parts are symbolic of the Vietnam War, the bicycle is there to remind him of the loss he had while still serving, and the surgeon injects his skull full of chemicals (The Ladder drug).
- Fridge Horror:
- If the military experiment is actually reason for what happens to Jacob in Vietnam, then his subconscious shouldn't know about what's behind it. But it does, making this something of an Or Was It a Dream? rather than All Just a Dream?.
- Or really he remembered he was stabbed by someone of his squad, having an education in philosophy might have helped his feverish, dying, adrenaline riddled imagination with everything else and he might have just been right.
Fridge / Jacob's Ladder