Projections - Movie Reviews


Academy Award winner Anthony Hopkins proves once again that he is (in my opinion at least) today's most gifted actor.  In Instinct, he portrays primatologist Ethan Powell, delivering an intense performance as the intelligent, sensitive man whose love for the mountain gorillas of Rwanda leads him to heartbreak and emotional ruin.  Academy Award winner Cuba Gooding, Jr. is also superb as Theo Caulder, the ambitious young psychiatric resident who, in pursuing the Powell case, seeks notoriety and, possibly, the potential to one day write a book about him.

As Caulder meets regularly with Powell in a brutal prison for the criminally insane, many layers of story evolve.  As Powell reveals the truth behind his unraveling, the tragedy of his experiences in Rwanda are positioned against the blatant cruelty and injustices inflicted on Powell and his fellow prisoners.  Adding to the complexity of the story is the relationship which develops between Caulder and Powell.  While it is Caulder who is assigned to assess Powell's mental state, it is Powell's insights of Caulder which are most intriguing.  As Gooding says, "Theo sees the study of this patient, Ethan Powell as a way to advance his career, but in the end this man forces him to reevaluate himself and question his essence as a man."

This is a remarkable film which will have you on the edge of your seat.  In addressing why he was attracted to Instinct, director Jon Turteltaub (Phenomenon, While You Were Sleeping) shares my sentiments regarding the film, "Not only was it a beautifully written screenplay, it also is entertaining and provocative in a way that I hope will inspire audiences to think about what our priorities are to ourselves and to others."

Writer Gerald DiPego (Phenomenon, Message In A Bottle) should be praised for his screenplay which differs wildly from the novel Ishmael by Daniel Quinn upon which the film is based, yet preserves the novel's rich philosophical ideologies.



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