Instinct

A few months ago, Anthony Hopkins made statements to the press about retiring from acting. While it remains to be seen whether he was serious about ending his career, it's clear that Hopkins should stop making movies like Instinct. Somewhat dishonestly marketed as a psychological thriller, Instinct is instead a mushy-headed, unintentionally funny inspirational drama that plays like a clumsy attempt to crossbreed The Shawshank Redemption and One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. Hopkins plays a scientist who killed a pair of rangers while living with gorillas in Africa before being brought back to America to stand trial. Mute and uncooperative, he undergoes analysis by ambitious shrink Cuba Gooding Jr., who hopes to write a book about his experiences with the eccentric convict. Will uptight company man Gooding learn a little something about what it means to be human from the murderous but soulful and wise Hopkins? Will Hopkins in return reconcile with daughter Maura Tierney? Anyone not raised by apes will be able to figure out exactly what sort of heavy-handed message Instinct is trying to impart within the first five minutes, but that doesn't keep it from perpetrating some of the most manufactured, gooey false uplift this side of Patch Adams. Propelled by a monumentally manipulative Danny Elfman score that does everything but rewire your synapses in its attempts to draw tears and applause, Instinct is a silly film that desperately wants to be thoughtful and inspirational. Instead, it's just bad.

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