Instinct

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In the world's eyes, renowned primatologist Ethan Powell (Hopkins) has gone mad: when park rangers tried to drag him away from a group of gorillas, he murdered two of them. Now he has a chance to be 'reassessed', and ambitious psycho-therapist Theo Calder (Gooding ) wants the case. Powell, though, has a few surprises in store. This is not a breezy ride. Set mostly in a high security detention centre, it has one of those soundtracks that beat you around the head. Similarly, the interaction between the men is like a series of body blows. The effect is not macho; this is a film about controlling the desire to 'penetrate'. Theo - his high, soft voice so at odds with Powell's growl - is that rare thing, a virginal male whose sexuality is allowed to remain undefined. And Gooding makes you believe in the contradiction. Hopkins' contribution is equally intense, even Lear-like in its muddle of wisdom, spite and foolishness. But you can't watch him without thinking of Silence of the Lambs. Worse, in the film's second half, the script's often acute observations about prisons and systems of control are overwhelmed by ocean-sized dollops of melodrama.

Release details

Duration: 124 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Jon Turteltaub
Screenwriter: Gerald DiPego
Cast: Anthony Hopkins
Cuba Gooding Jr
Donald Sutherland
Maura Tierney
George Dzundza
John Ashton
John Aylward
Thomas Q Morris
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