Instinct is a 1999 American psychological thriller film starring Anthony Hopkins, Cuba Gooding, Jr., George Dzundza, Donald Sutherland, and Maura Tierney. It was very loosely inspired by Ishmael, a novel by Daniel Quinn. In the United States, the film had the working title Ishmael. In 2000, the film was nominated for and won a Genesis Award in the category of feature film. This was the first film produced by Spyglass Entertainment after Caravan Pictures shut down.
The film examines the mind of anthropologist Ethan Powell (Hopkins) who has been missing for a few years, living in the jungle with gorillas. He had been convicted of killing and injuring several supposed Wilderness Park Rangers in Africa, and is sent to prison. A bright young psychiatrist (Gooding) tries to find out why he killed them, but becomes entangled in a quest to learn the true history and nature of humankind. Eventually it is revealed that during the course of his stay with the gorillas, the animals accepted Powell as part of their group and that he was attempting to protect his gorilla family when the rangers arrived and started shooting them. He gets a hearing to reveal the truth, but an attack by a vicious guard causes Powell to stop talking again. At the end of the film, Powell escapes from prison, using a pen to dig out the lock on a window and heads back to Africa.