Instinct (1999)




Critic Consensus: A convoluted and predictable plot overshadows the performances.

Instinct Videos & Photos

Movie Info

Within the brilliant mind of primatologist Ethan Powell lies an ominous secret -- a deep-seated mystery unsolved by his estranged family and the law enforcement officials who have jailed him for murders that occurred in the jungles of Rwanda. Highly educated and sophisticated, Powell was affected by years of studying mountain gorillas to the point where he was living among them in the wild, as one of their own. Now, held captive in a brutal prison for the criminally insane, Powell, who has not … More

Rating: R (for some intense violent behavior)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Gerald Di Pego
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 15, 2002
Buena Vista Pictures

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as Ethan Powell

as Dr. Theo Caulder

as Dr. Ben Hillard

as Lynn Powell

as Dr. John Murray

as Guard Decks

as Warden Keefer

as Bluto

as Guard Alan

as Anderson

as Guard No. 2

as Guard No. 3

as Lester

as Federal Marshal

as Government Aide

as Government Aide

as Marjorie Powell

as Captain Kagona

as Dr. Marquez

as Dr. Josephson

as Gilbert

as Man in Car

as Helmet Man

as Prisoner

as Prisoner

as Prisoner

as Prisoner

as Prisoner

as Bartender Mike
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Instinct

All Critics (90) | Top Critics (23)

The result is so artificial.

January 1, 2000
San Jose Mercury News
Top Critic

Gooding hurts the film more than his energetic presence helps it!

January 1, 2000
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

Regardless of how familiar the storyline and characters seem, everyone connected with the movie seems to think it's of invaluable importance. Instinct is one suffocatingly pompous flick.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic

Hands-down worst movies of the season!

January 1, 2000
Mr. Showbiz
Top Critic

Too simplistic and schematic!

January 1, 2000
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Sloppily structured, snoozily paced!

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Instinct


A scientist (Hopkins) goes completely native in Africa and needs some psych work before he can safely re-enter good ole society. Enter uber-mind probe types Gooding Jr. and Sutherland for some of that luscious brain squeezin' we all love so much. But wait just one goldurn minnit, is it the scientist who's bonkers ... or is it us?
Maura Tierney adds a warm touch to this predictable yet entertaining mangle that still succeeds (with a wink) because of the caliber of guns present.

Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Cuba Gooding Jr., Donald Sutherland, George Dzundza, Maura Tierney, John Ashton, John Aylward, Doug Spinuzza, Paul Bates, Rex Linn, Rod McLachlan, Kurt Smildsin, Jim R. Coleman, Tracey Ellis

Director: Jon Turteltaub

Summary: After a two-year stint living among a family of gorillas in the African jungle, anthropologist Ethan Powell (Anthony Hopkins) goes on a brutal rampage, killing two poachers. Imprisoned in a Florida mental institution, Powell becomes withdrawn, mute and animalistic. Psychiatrist Theo Caulder (Cuba Gooding Jr.) learns of Powell's condition and takes his case, hoping to unlock the reasons behind the scientist's behavior.

My Thoughts: "I can sum this movie up in one word, interesting. Nothing more. The story that is being told by Dr. Powell, is beautiful and tragic. Seeing what happens to the Gorillas was hard to watch. The acting and everything else was great. I definitely recommend this one."


Super Reviewer

Decent prison movie with Anthony Hopkins defending the apes and his fellow prisoners in the jail. Cuba is good too.

Lafe Fredbjornson

Super Reviewer

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