Instinct

139 ratings (131 Epinions reviews)
Epinions Product Rating: Very Good
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Man Meets Gorilla Instinct with Anthony Hopkins

Dec 26, 2007
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Action Factor:
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  • Suspense:

Pros:Hopkins great as always, secondary actors good, intense story

Cons:I loved every bit of it, younger viewers might not though

The Bottom Line: I don't care what's been done before, this film was solid gold from beginning to end and I can't get enough of it


Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.

Dr. Ethan Powell (Anthony Hopkins) was a respected scientist and researcher who went to live in Africa and study gorillas…that is, until he went missing. Now he’s been found two years later and confined in a Florida institution for the criminally insane following his brutal murder of two hunters in Africa. He doesn’t speak. He doesn’t respond when spoken to. Most especially, he is intensely violent and unpredictable and many at the institution feel that he is with them to stay.

Young Dr. Theo Caulder (Cuba Gooding Jr.) is sent in to profile Powell and try to get some sense of what happened to him and where he’s been. Caulder is astounded to see the way the inmate patients are forced to live and their complete lack of mental help…for instance, each inmate is supposed to be allowed outside for half an hour every day, since the institution is understaffed they’ve decided only to take one person out every day and decide which by handing out playing cards and whoever has the ace of diamonds gets to go outside. The problem with the cards is that every day the largest and strongest man on the block bullies his fellows until they give him the card and he is the only one to ever make it outside.

Amidst this chaos Powell starts to speak to Caulder, to tell him details of his time in Africa living amongst the gorillas, of how they took him in as one of their own and he learned how the non-human elements of the world live when they’re given the chance. As Powell’s story unfolds Theo begins to understand how a man who was previously so peaceful and dispassionate and who was taught what he now knows of the world by such peaceful animals could become so uncontrollably violent. Powell tries to make Theo understand what he knows of the nature of human kind and to somehow let him know where his severe hatred of humanity comes from.

Anthony Hopkins has long been one of my all-time favorite actors for his amazing versatility and his ability to be completely convincing in any roles he tries whether it be a debonair gentleman, a righteously indignant scientist, or a murderous psychotic genius. In this film he continues on in his acting tradition by playing the role of Ethan Powell like no one else could…a rugged outdoor type, deep in contemplation and prone to extreme violence at the drop of a hat the character of Powell has many layers and various facets of his character that are played out flawlessly by Hopkins’ superior talent.

I’ve always thought that Cuba Gooding Jr. was a pretty good actor…not great, but pretty good, certainly not as multi-talented as Hopkins but considering he’s a much younger actor I suppose we’ll cut him a bit of slack. Gooding’s role in this film doesn’t quite shine and is definitely of secondary importance here…I think they could have gotten just about anyone to play Caulder and no one would have noticed the difference as all eyes remain riveted on Hopkins. Also in this movie are Maura Tierney as Powell’s estranged grown daughter and Donald Sutherland also stars.

Overall this is one of the best movies I’ve seen in recent years, it intrigued me from the very beginning and kept my interest throughout with pretty much no down time. The film likes to catch your attention and keep you thinking, wondering and guessing about what’s going on and why. The ending isn’t very conclusive and also leaves one to think and wonder what might be happening next. Because of the excessive violence and language in the film it’s definitely not for younger viewers, besides the plot may be very difficult for kids to follow. For the adults, if you’re looking for an engrossing drama with very good acting and an intense plot, this is definitely the one to see.


Recommend this product? Yes


Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Good for Groups
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older


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