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Greatest Crime Thriller Twist Ending? Primal Fear (1996) | Review

Primal Fear is one of those films I’d always heard incredibly positive reviews for but it was also one of those films I never sat down to watch. Thanks to this collaboration I finally got to witness what everyone had been raving about, now I can confirm it was worth the watch. Primal Fear is a late 90s crime drama which tackles some hard hitting issues, some include religion, sexual assault and murder. We witness a young Edward Norton, who was only 26 when making this movie and it just happened to be his first feature film. Norton is a stand out in this film, alongside Richard Gere, the two have an incredible energy and chemistry on screen.

The story is heavy, with a strong narrative and captivating elements. I did find the film was a little long but in saying that, the length only added to the overall suspense and increased the realism as a viewer.

Edward Norton’s role of Aaron Stampler, an incredibly unforgettable performance which reminded me of Kevin Spacey in The Usual Suspects (1995). Both these ‘victims’ have a uniquely dynamic energy on screen and Norton was truly engaging from beginning to end.

The twist - if you haven’t seen Primal Fear I won’t reveal the ending here because it is far too brilliant to spoil! All I will say is, wow, I was not expecting it and it was absolutely incredible. No wonder everyone was telling me this film is incredible.

Primal Fear is a well constructed crime thriller with plenty of twist and turns around every corner. The cast has undeniable magnetism, in particular Edward Norton and Richard Gere in the title roles are completely thrilling to watch. I had no idea what the story was going into this feature, I hadn’t read anything previously and had very low expectations. I was severely mistaken, although the movie is a little dated in areas and the flow was slow at times, the movie overall was utterly captivating before we get to the mouth dropping ending.

If you’ve heard of this movie and never sat down to watch it, I highly recommend you give it a watch. It is incredibly entertaining and far more realistic and thrilling than anything being made nowadays.


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Welcome to Film Probe, a platform where I have dedicated my time and energies to reviewing films, tv and more. I pride myself on offering more than just an opinion, but rather a carefully crafted insight into the film's themes, characters, and overall production.

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