50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
I was prepared to not like this movie. There were so many negative and lukewarm reviews. I'm glad I watched it in spite of those reviews.
This is a deeply moving story about an anthropologist who leaves everything behind and lives with a group of gorillas - we get glimpses of that life later in movie. The beginning of the movie is a portrait of him as a madman, who doesn't speak, and has killed two park rangers. He is transported to the U.S. and awaits trial in a prison for the criminally insane. Cuba Gooding Jr. is a psychiatrist who is trying to get him to come out of his shell and speak. Cuba Gooding Jr's performance is the stand out in this awe inspring movie.
For fear of giving too much away, I won't say much more. I will say, however, that this movie is not so much about the crime itself. It is more about the transforming nature of love and respect and, ultimately, the meaning of freedom.
Unlike some other reviewers, I would heartily recommend this film. It is a movie that makes you think. It is a movie that will be on your mind for days and days. It just may transform the way you think.
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2005
Everyone thinks this movie is about Anthony Hopkins living out some demented "Gorillas in the Mist" nightmare. That is simply the catalyst for teaching us something about how we relate to the world around us. Everything about this movie is about control, the desire to control those who are not like us, the desire of the guards to control the population, the desire of Gooding's character to contol Hopkins. But, what Hopkins has to teach us is that we are not in control, but we simply hold onto our illusions of control. When our illusions are threatened we become angry and frightened because we are afraid of the reality. Ever wonder why we are so disturbed about a home invasion? Is it because someone came in, or because we had built up an illusion that we were safe, and now that illusion is gone? In this movie look past the gorillas and the corny guards and the predictable plot, look deeper into what the characters reveal about ourselves. Truly, then this is a very frightening movie.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2002
INSTINCT has all the components that a great movie should have in my opinion: an early hook, top knotch camera work/direction, a stellar cast, well developed characters and a nicely paced, interesting plot along with plenty of passion and emotion portrayed. INSTINCT gives the viewer bite-sized, puzzle pieces which can be interpreted different ways. The viewer can think and also absorb the information given but can't predict the outcome. INSTINCT ties the story together beautifully with many twists and turns and an interesting, unexpected ending. I personally enjoy a movie which doesn't end sappy but instead, ends with Hope.
Kudos to who casted this movie! Dr. Theo Caulder's Desire and Drive so amply played by Cuba Gooding, Jr. is skillfully contrasted with Dr. Ethan Powell's (Hopkins) deep, dark secrets. What a duo they make--they have Chemistry--the magic so rarely seen on the screen. I was thinking near the beginning of the movie that there was no way that Hopkins could top his performance in THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS but he did. He's one of my favorite actors of all time. He makes his characters real and him playing Dr. Ethan Powell is no exception. I've never seen a movie with him in it that I didn't like. And what can I say? Cuba Gooding, Jr. nailed his part. I can't think of anyone who was more suitable to play Theo. Casting is so important! Donald Sutherland plays the mentor/boss of Theo (Gooding, Jr.); I'm so impressed with every word he spoke and how he said it--he's a seasoned, polished actor. Maura Tierney, who plays the daughter of Dr. Ethan Powell (Hopkins) portrayed both longing and love as well as strength, patience and acceptance.
BOTTOM LINE: INSTINCT is a tantalizing, thought-provoking film with much to offer the viewer. If you are a fan of Hopkins, Gooding or Sutherland and/or like psychological thrillers with powerful, emotional intensity and a lesson to learn, buy this. I rate this a 9/10.
Watch the movie to get the compelling answer to the question in the title and take many ideas with you to ponder.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2001
The critics completely blew it on this one as it was easily the best movie of the year. I walked out thinking Gooding (actor) and Hopkins (supporting actor) had oscars in the bag. I usually can't stand "show me the money" Gooding (one of the least deserving supporting actor oscars in Jerry McGuire since what's her name in My Cousin Vinny). I knew even at that time I saw it that it was underpromoted and underattended. I had low expectations, but was totally blown away. I haven't so differently read a movie since Billy Bathgate bombed so miserably.
An extremely well-acted and written movie with, gasp, a fully developed female character that complements the two leads. This movie pressed some buttons, and I was frequently in tears as it touched on issues of family and human nature. I was amazed that Hopkins character was so clearly distinguished from Dr. Lector - because it seemed otherwise such a repeat in the trailers - once I saw it. Many a critic pronounced it another Lector character, which shows their haste - only someone who must rush through so many movies to review could miss its greatness. OK, many friends have seen it with equally ho-hum reviews... I don't get it. It just makes it all the more special a movie for me.
Given the mixed reaction this movie gets, go ahead and watch it - you may love it too.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2000
Hopkins and Gooding give what is quite possibly the most impressive performance, in my opinion, of the year. If you have anything against either actor, however, I don't reccommend the movie, as 90% of the film centers solely on those two actors. On the other hand, if you're an avid fan of the two (as I am), this is a definite must to add to the collection.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
Definitely a GREAT movie, Instinct, brings to the screen the story of a scientist studying gorillas in Africa who after being "lost" for two years re-appears as a psychopath prisoner charged with multiple assaults and double murder. A young psychiatrist is then given the task of "evaluating" the patient, though what he finds is more than he bargained for...
Anthony Hopkins, Cuba Gooding Jr., and the rest of the cast have truly outdone themselves with their performances, which are extraordinary to say the least! All the actors, without exceptions, give it their 100% and it really shows (the chemistry is AMAZING)! The film is simple enough, but does a great job of describing people's every day lives and the problems they face. It just goes to show that simplicity is often far better than complexity, when trying to present issues of a human nature.
The plot, the setting, the dialogues, and the music, are all WONDERFUL!
Very well written and very well presented, the movie is without a doubt worth watching and one to seriously consider adding to your movie collection (if you haven't already done so)!
In conclusion, it is one of those films that gets you and keeps you thinking long after it's over.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 1999
It's hard to explain the refreshingly intelligent and moving and thoughtful script of this film. Issues such as what is really civilized behavior, the pack as family mentality, and humanity vs. inhumanity are explored with depth but never with a heavy hand. The performances of Hopkins and Gooding are exceptional. Gooding did agreat job with the other film I'd seen him in, JERRY MAGUIRE but the depths of emotion and the layered aspects of his performance in Instinct are incredible. And Anthony Hopkins is as always very very good!
Where it falls a little, I think, is in the direction. Jon Turteltaub is a competent director who has done films I've enjoyed, such as WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING and PHENOMENON. But in this case, with everything it had going for it, Turteltaub didn't hold the strings tight.
But INSTINCT is a good film. Highly recommended!
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Based on Daniel Quinn's "Ishmael" the experience pits the illusions of freedom offered by civilization against natural order. The movie has an excellent star base with Anthony Hopkins, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Donald Sutherland. "Instinct" is and excellent movie for those looking for intellectual stimulation or for just entertainment.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
_Instinct_ was an excellent movie for several reasons: Riviting performances: Hopkins is intense and unpredictable--but predictably good. Gooding is excellent in an entirely color & gender-blind role. It might as easily have been played by a woman, an Asian, a Caucasian--anyone. Those roles are rare in Hollywood, and their creation should be encouraged. The mystery and the message: a little predictable, but moving and credible. (The critic who thinks the climax unbelievable should read the newspaper from several years back when a similar event occurred in reality--unfortunately with a less satisfactory outcome.) I loved the film and intend to purchase it.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 22, 1999
If you've ever questioned the decline of civilization, the evolution of humanity watch this movie. It definitely touches the heart and mind subtly and abruptly with prime examples of where the heart of humanity has gone and how man is no longer growing, but has chosen a declining path in the future. I always believed that the best lesson learned is not one told, but taught. This movie definitely has a lot to teach.