Volume 93, Issue 5
Friday, June 11, 1999
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Hopkins goes bananas in latest movie
Photo by Ron Batzdorff
By Paul Smith
With star-studded science fiction and Hollywood romances dominating the summer silver screens, some may assume the blockbusters of the season have already been determined. However, the ballot boxes should not be put away just yet, as Instinct proves to be a heavy contender this season.
As is expected from Oscar winning actors, Anthony Hopkins and Cuba Gooding Jr. deliver superb performances. The central figure within the film, Hopkins plays the role of psychiatrist Dr. Ethan Powell. Abandoning his work and his family, Powell chooses to live within the exotic forests of Africa. He builds a close relationship with a family of gorillas, eventually living as one of them.
Once Powell is separated from the animals and his wild surroundings, he quickly realizes there is no going back to the urban world to which he once belonged. Hopkins is in an acting class all his own and the diversity of his past roles proves this. His ability to adopt any character with not only mesmerizing but genuine talent allows for this startling and convincing portrayal of Dr. Ethan Powell.
With hopes of developing his young career, Theo Caulder, played by Gooding Jr., is the young psychiatrist who attempts to guide Powell back to a state of civilized living. As Caulder helps the doctor relive his experiences within the wilderness, they form an intriguing relationship which gives the two actors the opportunity to show off an unexpected but incredible screen chemistry. It's this intense interaction which enables the audience to become completely enthralled with the story behind Instinct.
Drawing on totally opposite realms, Instinct cleverly portrays the typical lifestyle of the everyday modern individual in a glaring contrast to an existence in nature and utter simplicity.
Through a clear sense of imagery and an obvious preference for symbolism, director Jon Turteltaub manages to go beyond mere conventionality to deliver a film boardering on excellence. Although it tends to run on empty at several points in the plot, as a whole, the film is both entertaining and thought provoking.
Whether waiting for a plot revelation or feeling the suspense of Hopkins' actions, Instinct is sure to captivate the viewer. It also avoids the typical Hollywood romance subplot that could have easily developed. Instead, as the cast interlaces an extremely interesting narrative, Instinct concentrates solely on the projection of an important social message about our most primal roots and modern lives.
Although the movie itself is quite long, there is no problem maintaining the audience's interest. With strong efforts from an amazing cast, including the confident Donald Sutherland, Instinct proves itself as a major contender in this summer's box-office bout.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999