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Cast
Anthony Hopkins .... Ethan Powell
Cuba Gooding Jr. .... Theo Caulder
Donald Sutherland .... Dr. Ben Hillard
Maura Tierney .... Lynn Powell
George Dzundza .... Dr. John Murray
John Ashton (I) .... Guard Decks

    An ambitious psychiatrist tries to further his career by breaking the big case in Instinct. The big case is an evaluation of an anthropologist turned wildman played by Anthony Hopkins. Hopkins lived with the animals for 2 years and has now been convicted of killing 2 park rangers. Gooding's first task is to get him to speak which he hadn't since his arrest in Africa.

    The plot sounds and begins promising but as always other useless subplots get involved. You know what that means, useless junk to add time to the length to the movie. One is that in order for Gooding to talk to Hopkins, he must also assist in the rest of the cases involved in the prison. He is quite infuriated at first but then tries to make big changes, one involving a policy of every man going outside for 30 minutes everyday. Supposedly in most jails, every prisoner must get 30 minutes outside but in this jail they are understaffed and only one man is allowed to go out. The prisoner that is allowed to go out must get the ace of diamonds handed out to him. The problem is that one guy always takes the card from the little guy. Gooding tries to rile up the prisoners against this and to use a lottery system. That way every man will get their chance. If this doesn't make sense, it doesn't really matter because it was just an complete waste of time in this movie.

    One might argue that this part shows some kind of development of Gooding's character. He, at that point, is putting the patient before his ambition. I just saw it as a useless way to add to the running time.

    What was wrong with this movie? It is probably easier to decide what is right with this movie. The performances of Hopkins and Gooding were just fine. The scenes in which Gooding is talking with Hopkins man to man. Now I must list some of the problems with the movie. The movie moved slowly and had a few parts that were either impossible or not understandable. I don't think it is possible for a 60-year old man to take out a whole army of guards. The sequences in which the apes accept him into their family were just not believable and rather repetitive and boring. The apes actions didn’t look real, they looked mechanical.


    Instinct, like many other movies, mixes elements of different classic films in an attempt to make an even better movie. What it lacks in originality, it continually lacks in character development of almost every character except for the main. In my mind, a supporting actor is an actor that supports the protagonist but this character shouldn't just be there to help the plot along. He should be presented with some importance if he is used in a movie.

    I have one more complaint about this film. It had too much of a pattern. because of how the movie was presented, I felt like I knew everything that was going to happen. I could explain it like the directions on a shampoo bottle. Wash, rinse, repeat. In this movie it went interview, daughter, mentor, repeat. First Gooding would have a frustrating meeting or a breakthrough. Then he would go to Hopkins' to tell about the breakthrough or for advice on how to get a breakthrough. Then off to his mentor's house, played by Donald Sutherland, for more advice o to through it his face. This is actually like the format of A Few Good Men,except that movie was just better.

    The movie had promise but the promise disappeared. Good performances but not enough to make the script better. The complaints outweigh the positive. No recommendation. I give it 2 stars.

Reviewed by Buscemifan
Rated R for violence and language.
Running Time: 123 mins.

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