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How do you hide when you're running from yourself?
on March 16, 2004
Gattaca (1997) is a beautiful movie that takes place in the not-so-distant future where genetic manipulation prior to birth brings out the best qualities of the parents while eliminating the worst, specifically, predispositions to diseases, additions, poor eyesight, etc. That is, if your parents choose to do so...
The film tells the a story about Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke), a man born naturally, a 'God-child', one who didn't benefit from advanced technology during his development within the womb, and subsequently has various conditions many are familiar with like poor eyesight, heart problems, etc. Vincent has his sights set on the stars, wanting to travel to distant planets, visit far away places (I mean really far away) but due to advanced science, he has no chance as people can now determine the status of your health, your future health, by any number of ways, a strand of hair, a bit of spittle on a cup, a flake of skin, and while biases due to genetic profiling are illegal, the practice is common and widespread, resulting in Vincent relegated to working in less than desirable jobs like cleaning offices.
This practice of genetic stereotyping has lead to a new kind of crime, one where a person of impeccable genetic make-up but who has found themselves a victim of fate due to a permanent injury or such, can broker their identity to a natural born person, supplying that person with various blood and urine samples, strands of hair, flakes of skin, allowing that person to pose as a 'valid' individual, and garner a choice position in corporate society. Jude Law plays Jerome Eugene Morrow, a superior individual who suffered a crippling accident and has now agreed to sell his identity to Vincent Freeman, in exchange for Vincent supporting the lifestyle Jerome was accustom to prior the accident. This involves a very elaborate daily routine by Vincent, including a complete scrub down of his entire body to remove any 'loose' material that could possibly be found, analyzed, and give him away. In order for Vincent to pose as Jerome, he must carry on him samples of Jerome's blood, urine, and other identifiers at all times.
Vincent manages to pull off the sham, securing himself a position at Gattaca, a 'corporate' NASA, and is on the fast track to achieving his dream of space travel...but for one problem. A high-ranking official in Gattaca was recently murdered, and the police are thoroughly investigating all individuals. Will Vincent's shell of deception crack under close scrutiny of a murder investigation?
I really enjoyed this movie, watching for a second time last night. The picture has a very texturized feel, with the subdued lighting, immaculate sets and costumes giving the entire movie a very `noir' quality. The story was very well laid out, allowing for rich development of the main characters, creating a real interest and empathy for me for the proceedings on the screen. Ethan Hawke and Jude Law played their roles wonderfully, one as the struggling `inferior' with dreams that reach beyond his genetic make-up, and the other as the spoiled near-perfect specimen forced to deal with a physical infirmity due to fate, one that couldn't be corrected for with pre-natal DNA manipulation. Followed up with a strong supporting cast including Uma Thurman, Alan Arkin, and Elias Koteas, we are presented with a very plausible science fiction tale, one that may cause you to give some thought and provoke conversation on the concept of human messing around in Mother Nature's domain.
The picture here looks wonderful, and is available here in both full screen and wide screen anamorphic formats. Special features also include a trailer for the film, a featurette, deleted scenes, and production notes.