Primal Fear movie review - Aussieboyreviews


Primal Fear is a phenomenally-made, engaging, violent and well-acted courtroom drama-thriller. It features an entertaining mystery revolving around the murder of a priest and delivers an excellent twist.


Martin Vail, a high-powered defence attorney, discovers dark secrets and uncovers a grim truth after he takes on the case of Aaron Stampler, a young altar boy who is accused of murdering a priest.

Movie Images

Movie details

Director: Gregory Hoblit
Cast: Richard Gere, Edward Norton, Laura Linney, Frances McDormand, John Mahoney, Alfre Woodard
Writer: Steve Shagan, Ann Biderman
Release Date (Australia): 16 May 1996
Runtime: 129 minutes/2h 9m
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Country: USA
Language: English

CONTENT GUIDE (warning: May contain spoilers)

Themes (M)

The film contains themes of murder, sexual abuse and mental illness.

Violence (MA15+)

The film contains a brief scene of in which a man is attacked and mutilated with a knife, accompanied by blood detail. The injuries and stab wounds of his corpse are also depicted.

Coarse Language (MA15+)

The film contains a singular use of “c**t” language and aggressive use of the words “f**k”, “s**t”, “bitch”, “damn” and “hell”.

Nudity (M)

The film contains footage of female breasts and male buttocks nudity.

Sex (MA15+)

The film contains footage of a woman and two men undressing before the woman briefly performs oral sex on one of the men.

mpaa rating

R (for brief grisly violence, pervasive strong language and a sex scene)

Aussie boy's thoughts

This twisty drama-thriller with a perfect amount of courtroom activity, captivating movement through its storytelling and an excellent cast keeps us anticipating for more dark secrets. Primal Fear’s idea simply walks behind a defence attorney who takes up a case in which a young man is accused of murdering a priest. It’s simple and always understandable, but it leaves you with so many thoughts leading you to look closer at other details. There’s just some things that do manage to crawl under your skin, but other than that, it’s pretty much perfect.

Although there’s some things people would be allowed to say about this movie without being considered as a spoiler who just ruins all the fun, it’s best to briefly know the main idea of the film and just head straight into it without any further details. Primal Fear is definitely worth watching because it’s an extremely entertaining and absorbing crime-themed thriller that leads to unpredictable twists and a thunderbolt of an ending that will leave you with an unbelievable amount of thoughts afterwards. The less you know before, the more dismay you’ll experience.

Exactly alongside the twists, one of the most chilling elements of this movie comes from the endlessly convincing acting. Edward Norton’s character/s are absolutely lifelike, being shy and innocent with a stutter at one point and suddenly slipping into insanity during some intense moments. However, everyone seems to be discussing how talented Norton is without mentioning the persuasive lawyer character by Richard Gere who is also stunning.

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