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Instinct - Movie Synopsis & Plot

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Within the brilliant mind of primatologist Ethan Powell (Academy Award winner ANTHONY HOPKINS) lies an ominous secret-a deep-seated mystery unsolved by his estranged family and the law enforcement officials who have tracked him down and jailed him for murders that occurred in the jungles of Rwanda. Highly educated and sophisticated, Powell's truth was derived from years of studying mountain gorillas-to the point where he was living among them in the wild, and accepted as one of their own.

Now, held captive in a brutal prison for the criminally insane, Powell, who has not spoken in years, is remanded to psychiatrist Theo Caulder (Academy Award winner CUBA GOODING, JR.). Caulder's unbridled ambition drives him to risk everything and put his life on the line in order to understand the actions of this headline-gripping madman. Eventually, both men embark on an extraordinary journey fueled by their insatiable hunger for the truth, regardless of the cost.

Theo Caulder (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) is an ambitious psychiatric resident who has been asked to evaluate the case of anthropologist and primatologist Ethan Powell (Academy Award winner Anthony Hopkins). A noted scientist, Powell vanished four years ago while studying the reclusive mountain gorillas in Rwanda. When a group of park rangers discovered Powell living among the gorillas, he turned on them, brutally murdering two of the rangers. Caulder becomes intrigued by the high-profile case. Sensing a career-making opportunity, and a possible book about the anthropologist, Caulder asks to be assigned to the case.

Caulder begins his first sessions with Powell in the interrogation rooms of Harmony Bay, an oppressive, rundown maximum security prison in Florida's back country. Sedated and shackled, Powell has retreated into himself and won't speak to anyone. Increasingly frustrated by Powell's silence, Theo turns to Powell's estranged daughter, Lyn (Maura Tierney) for help.

Slowly, Theo begins to make progress with Powell. Powell starts to share his memories of Rwanda and teaches Theo about the "takers" and "leavers" and a kind of revisionist history of mankind, how we went wrong and how we got to the place we are.

As Caulder begins the task of trying to understand Powell, he becomes overwhelmed by his story and the tables turn so that instead of psychiatrist and prisoner, it becomes student and teacher.

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