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: 21.67%
Worth A Look51.67%
Average: 13.33%
Pretty Bad: 5%
Total Crap: 8.33%

3 reviews, 42 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Poison Rose, The by Jack Sommersby

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom by Jay Seaver

Fat Man and Little Boy by Jack Sommersby

Harry & Son by Jack Sommersby

Shattered by Jack Sommersby

Deathstalker II by Jack Sommersby

Ambition by Jack Sommersby

Blackout by Jack Sommersby

Backfire by Jack Sommersby

Hit List, The (1993) by Jack Sommersby

subscribe to this feed

Primal Fear
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Ryan Arthur

"A stunning performance by Edward Norton."
4 stars

What a cast.

Richard Gere (whom I normally hate), Andre Braugher, Alfre Woodard, John Mahoney, Laura Linney, Frances McDormand.

Oh, and Edward Norton.

He's the reason to see this movie.

A Chicago priest is murdered by an altarboy (Norton). Gere's the guy who takes the seemingly impossible to win case. He's basically a publicity hound. But when the truth comes out, and the seemingly innnocent Norton starts to exhibit less than innocent characteristics, well, it gets interesting.

What could've been a standard courtroom drama is actually an interesting suspense yarn involving multiple personalities, and the playing of one defense lawyer for a fool.

Norton is outstanding in his debut (this beat Everyone Says I Love You into theaters by seven or eight months), and the rest of cast tries to floow his lead but gets left in his wake. Gere's actually not that bad, and Linney is better here than in any other film she's been in, but they just can't compete with Norton. He's completely mesmerizing as the altarboy who may be hiding another personality...or may just be deviously clever. It won him a Best Supporting actor Golden Globe in 1997.

Directed with a light touch by Gregory Hoblit (1998's Fallen), Primal Fear works primarily because of the actors, specifically Norton. It's a fine performance.

Plus , Andre Braugher rips off a guy's earring. While it's still on the ear. Ouch.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 09/02/98 23:24:28
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

1/05/19 Anne worth watching 4 stars
9/16/17 morris campbell well acted with a good twist 4 stars
7/30/10 Simon Mediocre movie, but 'worth a look' only scratches the surface of Norton's brilliant debut 4 stars
12/12/07 jOSEPHINE c. eSTRELLA for me the film is very nice,suspense 4 stars
3/31/07 fools♫gold Why play with money, when you can play with people's lives? 5 stars
12/22/06 Dillon Well written and intriguing. The performances are great. 5 stars
8/03/06 William AARON, TAKE HER FROM BEHIND! The funniest line in the movie. 2 stars
9/21/05 Indrid Cold Great acting, decent story = above average movie. 4 stars
7/03/05 Vic LOVED it...ending blew me away despite what some ppl and gere just superb... 5 stars
6/08/04 John surprisingly effective thriller 4 stars
3/06/04 LIAM JACKSON that archbishop was a evil pervert who prayed on kids. i'm glad he got killed! 5 stars
1/20/04 jeremy Acting sucks, plot sucks, characters are one-dimensional...a cinematic piece of shit. 1 stars
10/20/03 sylvie excellent intelligent movie, if u like primal fear check out fightclub! 5 stars
3/03/03 Jack Sommersby A mediocre adaptation of a brilliant novel. Suspenseless and boring. 2 stars
10/21/02 Jim Good acting all around, though most of the twists weren't very twisty. 4 stars
9/30/02 Lauren great acting from Norton AND Gere! 5 stars
9/29/02 Peter Sherlock Same old same old 1 stars
5/21/02 Charles Tatum What planet are these characters from??? 1 stars
3/15/02 Iris Dementia Praecox Does not prove multiple personality case is faked; just pretends to. 1 stars
2/25/02 Geebo If you see this movie for one reason, see it for Norton 4 stars
2/23/02 R.W. Welch Unlikely but interesting plot line with fine Jeykll-Hyde work by Norton. 4 stars
1/20/02 Betty IT SUCKS 1 stars
1/02/02 Katre Edward,Edward,Edward,what more is there to say?It was all good. 4 stars
9/09/01 Butterbean Gere takes a backseat to Norton. The best ending in celluloid history!!! 4 stars
3/25/01 Monster W. Kung Norton rules, as usual. The guy is great. On the other end, Gere blows donkeys as usual. 4 stars
3/22/01 Jesee Armerding This movie isn'r awesome, but you have to see it for edward Norton. 4 stars
2/16/01 lisa the book was better. the title lies. 3 stars
2/16/01 Jake pretty taut 5 stars
2/19/00 Neil Austin If Norton hadn't been there it would have been Shite 4 stars
12/02/99 Allen Konigsberg Not bad, needs more Maura Tierney, Maura Tierney, Maura Tierney, Maura Tierney, Maura ..... 4 stars
11/30/99 The Bomb 69 Gere couldn't hold Norton's jock strap, totally amazing 5 stars
11/29/99 Mic Far too much swearing and dragged for a while, but still worth the look if only for Norton 4 stars
11/02/99 Bozo norton & the story are great; mcdormand & woodard wasted; gere almost ruined it for me 4 stars
10/01/99 ralph excellent 5 stars
8/11/99 adjovi enjoyable and clever plot, but the movie's real strength is Norton's prodigious debut perfo 5 stars
7/17/99 soccer_mum Great film. Draws you right in and sucker punches you at the end...See it!! 5 stars
4/19/99 Daria Who cares about Gere? Norton is the reason this film rocks. 5 stars
1/25/99 Chloe Marie Ernestine ( I like it. Very re-watchable. Great, fun to watch performance by Norton. Movie does drag. 4 stars
9/27/98 Johny Norton is best part of the film, a decent lawyer flick too 4 stars
9/16/98 f*r*o*s*t*y This film rocked the freakin' house. Wow. Wow. Wow. 5 stars
8/29/98 Mister Whoopee Richard Gere is shite. Great cast otherwise. 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

  03-Apr-1996 (R)



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