Instinct (1999) - Rotten Tomatoes


Instinct (1999)



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

Instinct 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 spoken in years, is remanded to psychiatrist Theo Caulder, who must try to unlock the dark mystery in the mind of what appears to be a madman. He encounters a series of perplexing mysteries, questions with chilling answers, and shocking psychological truths. Eventually both men are led on an extraordinary journey of self-discovery.


Anthony Hopkins
as Ethan Powell
Cuba Gooding Jr.
as Dr. Theo Caulder
Donald Sutherland
as Dr. Ben Hillard
Maura Tierney
as Lynn Powell
George Dzundza
as Dr. John Murray
John Ashton
as Guard Decks
John Aylward
as Warden Keefer
Rex Linn
as Guard Alan
Rod McLachlan
as Anderson
Kurt Smildsin
as Guard No. 2
Jim R. Coleman
as Guard No. 3
Kim Ingram
as Lester
Gary Bristow
as Federal Marshal
Rus Blackwell
as Government Aide
Bruce Borgan
as Government Aide
Louanne Stephens
as Marjorie Powell
Ajgie Kirkland
as Captain Kagona
Ivonne Coll
as Dr. Marquez
Pat McNamara
as Dr. Josephson
Roger Floyd
as Gilbert
Dave Deever
as Man in Car
Tim Goodwin
as Helmet Man
Alex City
as Prisoner
Jimmy Dipisa
as Prisoner
Kevin McNally
as Prisoner
Kevin Moore
as Prisoner
Joe Tacke
as Prisoner
John Travis
as Bartender Mike
View All

Critic Reviews for Instinct

All Critics (66) | Top Critics (15)

[Hopkins and Gooding Jr.] keep Instinct afloat on its sea of simplisms through a succession of climaxes until at last it reaches its unavoidable ending.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Strong performances!

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 2/4

Instinct is the second one in a row that Gooding lifts out of mediocrity by the sheer force of his talent, intelligence and personality.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Solid directing and good acting!

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Gooding is at his best!

January 1, 2000

If there's anything worse than a movie hammered together out of pieces of bad screenplays, it's a movie made from the scraps of good ones.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…

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
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
Lafe Fredbjornson

Super Reviewer

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