Review Date:
Director: Jon Turteltaub
Writer: Gerald DiPego
Producers: Barbara Doyle and Michael Taylor
Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Ethan Powell, Cuba Gooding Jr. as Dr. Theo Caulder
A doctor who was lost in the African jungles for two years, and known to live side-by-side with gorillas, is found after he savagely murders two game wardens. Upon his return to the States, a young, career-minded psychiatrist is chosen to attempt to communicate with the man and understand his violent and anti-social behavior.
One part ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST, one part THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION and one part GORILLAS IN THE MIST, one part SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, and one really big part TARZAN. This film offers very little in originality or thrills, but does manage to convey an effective loving relationship between the good doctor and the gorillas, and some superb acting on the part of the two lead actors. In fact, I think I would have been really bored were it not for the intense and believable portrayals of both characters. Anthony Hopkins plays an excellent doctor gone semi-loony who has us believing that a man of his intelligence could truly be taken in by a family of gorillas. Cuba Gooding’s doctor Dooright character also meanders through every emotion flawlessly with all of his happiness, sadness, fear and cockiness creating a character to whom we can all relate and invest our emotion.

Were there enough twists in the plot? No, not at all. Pretty predictable. Were there any crazy monkey love-making scenes? Certainly not. But what this film does offer is a couple of great actors chewing down on some pretty tasty lines inside a plot which may resonate with some, in respect to its derogatory depiction of modern-day living, and society’s over-emphasis on control, possessions, career and dominance. Now the lack of originality or action may have some of you returning to your ticket counter and demanding that they “Show you your money back!” (I’m sorry, but I just had to! :), but I quite enjoyed the performances in this film, and its oddly satisfying conclusion. Skip it if you’re looking for an intense thriller or a sci-fi man-turns-into-a-gorilla vibe (ALTERED STATES fans beware!), but check it out if you like either of the two leads or movies with monkeys in ’em!

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian




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