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Overall Rating

Awesome: 25.37%
Worth A Look: 10.45%
Average: 7.46%
Pretty Bad: 23.88%
Total Crap32.84%

5 reviews, 37 user ratings

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by Chris Parry

"Like Patch Adams with monkeys."
2 stars

This movie started out like a full on epic. Expansive, rolling shots of jungles and mountains, a decent opening sequence, Anthony Hopkins looking like a jungle man. But don't be fooled by the beginning, this is a Robin Williams movie without Robin Williams. Sugar-sweet, melodramatic, and with the requisite hokey ending.

Anthony Hopkins is transported back to the US after being held in prison for a year in Rwanda for murder. What happened? Why did he disappear for two years before the crime? Why does he act like a monkey?

In comes Cuba Gooding Jr, doing his greatest Bryant Gumble/Robin Williams cross, as the brilliant young spychiatrist set to break the secrets from Hopkins' mind.

Maura Tierney is the daughter of Hopkins (he gets a lot of good looking daughters these days - Forlani, Zeta-Jones, Tierney) who seems to be developing a 'thing' for Cuba...

This is a psychological drama, but if you're expecting Silence Of The Lambs II here, you'd be sadly mistaken. Instinct is one of those new breed of films that deems it necessary to unleash Danny Elfman's piano and not let it stop until the end credits roll. One more 'plink' and I was going to stuff cotton wool in my ears.
Do we need a neverending easy listening score to tell us that this is an 'awakenings' premise?

To be honest, it's not all garbage, but it mostly is. There's some fine sub-characters (various mental patients confined with Hopkins), but a whole heap of crappy ones (the guards and prison warden).

If you've seen Patch Adams, you'll be used to the feel-good drill by now. Problem, solution in five minutes, repeat. It's the sitcom mentality, where people are considered too dumb to realise the main character is introuble, so fill their head with dramatic piano, throw in some long long long close ups, and have a monkey get shot. Well, there was no monkey in Patch Adams, but they had cancer kids - same diff.

On occasion, the movie does get to you. There are some moments that threaten to grab you by the heartstrings, but those moments pass quickly as the ham-fisted direction takes over. "Almost crying, almost crying... nah. Over it."

Instinct does have a message, and to be fair it delivers the message well. But like a baker who just can't stop pouring sugar into the cake mix, you hit a point where the whole thing just tastes too sickly sweet to bother finishing it. Wasted premise.

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originally posted: 05/13/99 16:29:54
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User Comments

4/01/13 Marty L This movie can only be fully appreciated after reading "Ishmael." 4 stars
7/24/08 Shaun Wallner Hopkins is great!! one of my all time favs! 5 stars
7/27/07 fools♫gold Story about a guy who thinks he knows what happened two million years ago. 5 stars
11/29/06 Mr smith jack bourbon is a homo 4 stars
6/22/06 TB I Love that wild man! 4 stars
11/16/05 Kenneth Ingenius 5 stars
8/30/05 ES It-stinks 2 stars
8/15/05 Themis Stratinakis Great movie with an environmental view 5 stars
7/08/05 R.W. Welch Hopkins does psycho as well as anybody, but Gooding is miscast. 3 stars
11/27/04 Robert Lee I thought this movie was absolutly terrific and one of the best ones I have seen in a long 5 stars
12/20/03 Charles Tatum Surprisingly good "Silence of the Gorillas in the Mist" 4 stars
12/01/03 Juan Xavier One of the best movie I've ever seen 4 stars
5/12/03 Jack Bourbon Cuba hams it up, and he's the hammiest ham-upping ham of all the hammy ham-sters in hamdom. 1 stars
4/04/03 Jack Sommersby Another Jon Turteltaub stinker. 1 stars
9/11/01 Roy Smith It wasn't over my head, it just totally failed to fill it with anything other than cliches. 1 stars
6/15/01 Monday Morning The message was everything. Free Anthony! Whack the gorilla-killers! 5 stars
5/28/01 cinkcool Very good message. Too deep for most people i guess. 5 stars
4/17/01 J Duh... what desdomona said. 5 stars
10/05/00 harrison langdon Over most people's heads 5 stars
8/10/00 Terrie Smith Nothing really exceptional; actors have to cope with a mundane script. 3 stars
4/29/00 Negative Norm As good,if not better than shite(well,almost)! 1 stars
3/01/00 Ionicera It's bad. Oh, it's bad. 1 stars
10/11/99 Mike Best movie I've ever seen. 5 stars
10/07/99 sophia962 Terrified me that Hopkins had started drinking again. Embarassingly bad. 1 stars
8/26/99 Brenton Millard Total crap - at least it was free! 1 stars
8/01/99 Obi Wan Ok flick...but I kept dozing off....also thought sometimes I was watching Dr. Lechter! 3 stars
7/24/99 Gawain Mclachlan The instinctual approach is to leve it in the wilderness! 2 stars
6/23/99 J. Gonzalez unable to clasify as drama, adventure, comedy or suspense thriller, uncommon plot. 2 stars
6/19/99 Mr Ebert Nothing happens in this movie that has not been sanctioned by long usage in other films. 1 stars
6/14/99 Tristynn Loved it, but hope to never see it again.. I smell an oscar for Cuba...amazing performance 4 stars
6/14/99 Mr Variety Awkward, sluggish, finally ludicrous mix is half-baked on all counts 1 stars
6/13/99 Daddy Rich Gooding was very good. A little slower than I thought, but good. 4 stars
6/10/99 David Manipulative, trite, and boring, despite good performances 1 stars
6/08/99 Savahoo Not the worst film in history, but not an Academy Award winner either. Hopkins was good. 3 stars
1/25/99 Meepos. You were just left with a feeling that you were lacking something after you saw it. 2 stars
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  04-Jun-1999 (PG-13)



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