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Instinct

Director:Jon Turteltaub
Writer:Gerald DiPego
Touchstone Pictures; 124 minutes; R
Release:6/99
Cast:Anthony Hopkins, Cuba Gooding Jr., Donald Sutherland, Maura Tierney

What are Anthony Hopkins, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Donald Sutherland doing caught up in a movie that is offensive, simplistic, and heavily derivative? Silence of the Lambs cross-breeds with Gorillas in the Mist to birth Instinct, a suspense flop wherein the civilized white scientist Ethan Powell (Hopkins) plunges deep into Africa, and-guess what? — his true 'savage' nature is unleashed. After spending an unspecified amount of time living peacefully with upper primates in the Dark Continent, Powell gets arrested for the murder and assault of several civilians. The noble savage refuses to speak, preferring to express himself in sudden, violent outbursts. In a U.S. prison for the criminally insane promising psychologist Theo Caulder (Gooding) attempts to fathom the bloody mysteries locked tight inside Powell's mind.

What Silence of the Lambs, Apocalypse Now, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest did well, Instinct does unimaginably poorly. Tangential plot pieces float lazily amidst the amateurish murk passing for a psychological thriller.


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