6.6/10
30,605
238 user 99 critic

Instinct (1999)

When noted anthropologist Dr. Ethan Powell, who left society to live in the jungle is imprisoned for murder, it's up to young psychiatrist Theo Caulder to get through to him.

Director:

Jon Turteltaub

Writers:

Gerald Di Pego (screenplay) (as Gerald DiPego), Gerald Di Pego (screen story) (as Gerald DiPego) | 1 more credit »
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Anthony Hopkins ... Ethan Powell
Cuba Gooding Jr. ... Theo Caulder
Donald Sutherland ... Ben Hillard
Maura Tierney ... Lynn Powell
George Dzundza ... Dr. John Murray
John Ashton ... Guard Dacks
John Aylward ... Warden Keefer
Thomas Q. Morris ... Pete
Doug Spinuzza ... Nicko
Paul Bates ... Bluto
Rex Linn ... Guard Alan
Rod McLachlan ... Guard Anderson
Kurt Smildsin Kurt Smildsin ... Guard #1
Jim R. Coleman ... Guard #2
Tracey Ellis ... Annie
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Storyline

Nearly two years after having gone amiss in Africa, renowned anthropologist Dr. Ethan Powell (Sir Anthony Hopkins) is caught committing a crime and subsequently imprisoned in a Florida mental institution, where aspiring psychiatrist Dr. Theo Caulder (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) takes over his important case. Dr. Powell, who has been with a group of gorillas during all that time, is not talking at all, and seems to be living in a dreamworld. Very slowly, Dr. Caulder manages to reach Ethan and starts finding out why he killed two of the poachers. Yet, Theo's case is not just about why the murders have happened, but also about how Dr. Powell became the being he is in the first place. With Ethan's silence broken, Theo is introduced into a world beyond common human comprehension: The true nature of being. He learns that mankind's control of everything is a mere illusion and that the true values of existence can't be found so easily. Ethan changes Theo's view of things forever. Written by Julian Reischl <julianreischl@mac.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

One man's mind is another man's mystery. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some intense violent behavior | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 June 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ishmael See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$80,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,390,387, 6 June 1999

Gross USA:

$34,105,207

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$34,105,207
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sir Sean Connery was originally offered the role of Dr. Ethan Powell. See more »

Goofs

In the end credits, David B. Nowell's credit for aerial photography is misspelled as "aeriel". See more »

Quotes

Theo Calder: Okay, so, you don't wanna talk. But your daughter needs you. So what do you say to her?
Ethan Powell: 'Goodbye.' I talked. There. Have I made your fucking day?
[reaches across and slams a pencil into the table]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Conversations with Jon Turteltaub (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Powerful and intelligent assessment of the human condition
2 January 2001 | by r.gatesSee all my reviews

On any level, this film has to be considered one of the most incisive and painful commentaries on the human condition. Above the acting (superior performances), above the direction, above all the production values is the constant message that we as a race are marching toward an open grave pit. For all our possessions, for all our wealth, for all our so-called achievements, we have yet to learn to respect the intelligence of nature and to act accordingly. "Instinct" is in every living organism and to deny one's own instinct is to go against the natural order. The prison system in this country doesn't work because it is used to destroy man's spirit instead of supporting it. Until we learn how to live in harmony and love with all the other living organisms, we will continue to destroy what we seek to build. Don't buy those Christmas presents - support your wildlife fund. We don't need things, we need spiritual reconnection with the earth we live on. Dr. Powell, as played by Anthony Hopkins, is one of the most highly evolved beings ever seen in a movie. To the writer I am grateful for his creation, to Mr. Hopkins I am grateful for giving us a character to emulate. This movie has made a lasting impression on me. I hope it does the same for everyone who sees it. Open your heart because if you don't, then you will create your own inner prison and live a messy life that the rest of us will have to clean up.


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