Instinct, or “Tarzan Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is the story of an anthropologist (Anthony Hopkins), who, after living with gorillas in Africa for a couple of years, gets sent to prison for killing some African park rangers with a club. Since he is super-violent and hasn’t spoken in years, he is extradited to a US maximum security psycho ward (run by, go figure, a cruel idiot warden with a Southern drawl.) Apparently living with gorillas and eating nothing but leaves makes a person really strong, because Hopkins repeatedly beats the crap out of people and throws even the largest of ’em around like Samsonite luggage. Cuba Gooding plays the ambitious psychiatrist who must get him to speak and figure out why he committed murder.
Instinct is fairly interesting until Gooding gets Hopkins to speak. Then he begins to spew gobbledygook about how Men are the “takers” and gorillas can really teach us how to live. He disses civilization and starts dropping all these metaphors that lead us to believe (?) that apes and insane asylum inmates are both held down by the Man. Let’s see him rag civilization when his jungle-dwellinâ ass comes down with a toothache or a case of Rwandan rectal itch. I guarantee he’ll be the first one in line at the pharmacy.
This flick is a half-stepper. It can’t decide whether to be a psychiatric thriller or an uplifting gorilla parable. As a result, both halves suck. During one of their therapy sessions, Hopkins beats the shit out of Gooding and, while subduing him in a choke hold, forces him to see that his life is meaningless and hollow and he would be much happier gettin his groove on with some simians. Man, this was some bullshit! Gooding’s character, based on this five minute shotgun sermon, actually starts to look on Hopkins as some kind of feral Obi Wan Kenobi instead of the unkempt psychotic he really is. Gooding cries at one point and thanks him for imparting his gorilla wisdom. Who is the mental health professional here and who is the basket case?
Via flashbacks, we finally see what made Hopkins snap and commit murder. The park rangers that he killed (who all bear an uncanny resemblance to Idi Amin) were ruthlessly gunning down his gorilla “family.” But like I said, it’s totally unbelievable and hard to muster up a crap to give for these gorillas. Jane Goodall has already peaked this one in the public consciousness. Aren’t gorillas the most protected species this side of the ruby-throated sperm shrew anyway? Why were the rangers killing them? I won’t even get into the pants-wetting, drooling retards that Hopkins is in the joint with. There are lots more laughable, unbelievable scenes that take place there too. The final shot shows Hopkins back in Africa after escaping prison (I’m not coming for you, Clarise…). C’mon, the guy didn’t even have a wallet for god’s sake. How did this utterly recognizable felon get from the United States to Africa? Did he fly first class? Did he have the chicken or the fish, or stay true to his gorilla nature and stick with a salad? What the FUCK??!!