More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

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

Latest Reviews

Old Guard, The by Peter Sobczynski

Greyhound by Peter Sobczynski

Guest of Honour by Peter Sobczynski

Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears by Jay Seaver

Dealer/Healer by Jay Seaver

City Without Baseball by Jay Seaver

Invisible Man, The (2020) by Rob Gonsalves

Hunt, The (2020) by Rob Gonsalves

Da 5 Bloods by Rob Gonsalves

Hamilton by Peter Sobczynski

subscribe to this feed

[] Buy posters from this movie
by desdemona

"Ignorance is not bliss."
5 stars

People don't realize how completely ignorant and selfish they are. This movie tries to wake everybody up to their own inhumanity, but perhaps we're all too far lost to listen.

Instinct was marketed (and cleverly so) as an action-packed psychotic thriller complete with Hannibal the Cannibal and all his witty remarks. But don't walk into the theatre expecting that. This is not a movie for the adrenaline-craving macho man looking for something to grunt violent approval at. Instinct is a movie for people like me, people that read Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment and feel more empathy for the main character than for the people he killed.

Okay, I've lost most of you. Let me explain.

On the surface, this movie is about a psychiatrist (Anthony Hopkins) who had apparently gone mad after spending two years living with gorillas, and another psychiatrist (Cuba Gooding Jr.) trying to get him to tell his story and to get him to explain why he killed. At first, the answer seems fairly simple. He killed because he went insane. He turned into an animal, just like the animals he was studying.

But he wasn't the animal. The animal is us. We're the "takers," as Mr. Hopkins so gracefully put it. We don't care what we destroy, as long as we can further ourselves in society. We destroy for no reason. For no purpose. Just because it makes us feel more significant, because we are so very little.

Part of the movie's message is the control that we all so desperately strive for in our lives. We are all living under the illusion that we can actually control ANYTHING, and that, through that control, we become free. But we can never be free. Not without breaking ourselves from the need to control. So we steal, and we kill. We ceaselessly destroy, but then when we're called on our destruction we shrug our shoulders and point our fingers. We kill and kill and kill and we don't care. As long as we can have control.

In Instict, Anthony Hopkins was the lucky one. He had escaped the pretense. He lived among the gorillas, they ACCEPTED him, and he was able to strip himself down to his basic human elements, the only things really humane about any of us. He finally felt peace; he was finally free. Free of control. And then that peace, that freedom, is all ripped away from him by us. By "humans."

So that's the message of the movie (don't worry, I saved the plot and how the message was revealed, I really didn't give away that much of the movie). Anthony Hopkins was truly the perfect person for this role. He WAS that psychiatrist. He took you to where HE was, where HE was coming from, WHY he did what he did. He made you feel. Hell, he made me cry. No matter how much one talks about people, no matter how much one theorizes about the inhumanity in every man, it's always hard to actually be proven right. It's hard to see the endless cruelty and the mindless greed. That's the message. Someone please listen.

Anthony Hopkins was outstanding (no surprise there), and Cuba Gooding Jr. also played his part very well. Perhaps he deserves a little more credit than I gave him--without him, Hopkins's story would have never been told. And through the telling of that story, and through observing others with the knowledge he was gaining from Hopkins, Gooding learns the true nature of humans and comes to respect, understand, and maybe even love, Hopkins. Then there were the men in the movie that just exemplified everything that's wrong with humanity, adding to the power of the message.

This movie isn't for everybody. It's obvious the writer had a message that he wanted people to hear, and it was carried out almost perfectly. But his message is one that most people aren't ready to hear. Or maybe most people just don't want to hear it.

Don't see this movie because you want to see some violence. Yeah, there is a lot, but that's not the reason behind this movie. Go see it because you want a reason to think; it will provide.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 06/08/99 14:05:58
[printer] printer-friendly format  

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
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  04-Jun-1999 (PG-13)



Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast