In Silence of the Lambs, Anthony Hopkins played the ultimate psychopath killer, Hannibal Lecter. Now, in 1999's Instinct, he is once again an intelligent psychotic, but now he's a primatologist, not a cannibal, and not quite as nasty. Along with him, and starring, is Cuba Gooding, Jr. (best known for his Oscar-winning performance in Jerry Maguire), who delivers a decent but not exceptional performance.
For the most part, I liked this movie. I liked how Gooding investigated Hopkins' past and how he got him to talk. I liked how Hopkins character developed from a raging lunatic to a calm and smart person who can easily recall his past. I liked the gripping flashback that decided Hopkins' fate for the rest of the movie.
But there were some flaws in the film and a lot of them were in the last half hour, which is not a good place for flaws to be. Movies depend on a good ending, and while Instinct had a relatively happy ending, it seemed hastily done and artificial. The most disturbing scene was where Gooding, as a psychiatrist, broke down and started telling Hopkins that he helped make him feel free, and that that was the reason why Hopkins should switch back to a sane person once again. The dialogue in this scene, as well as in a few other places, seemed fake, trite, and to ambitious in trying to get an emotional rise out of the viewer.
Secondly, Hopkins seemed to snap out of his psychosis just for Gooding. Ten minutes after meeting Hopkins (in movie time), the man starts talking, which he hadn't done for three years. All of it seemed without reason. He then went on to explain how he came to be the way he was, and, while hiding the truth up until the near end (which, unfortunately, is quite obvious, even from the previews), basically gives away everything without any effort on Gooding's part.
Like I mentioned before, I did like the gorilla scenes, but there was a flaw in these as well. Some of the gorillas looked fake, especially the babies. Nowadays, with the technology and graphics, these animals should not look fake. They did, which gave it, at that point, a low budget feel or something.
I liked Instinct but the last half hour could have been better.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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