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Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Alan Arkin and Jude Law star in this engrossing sci-fi thriller about an all-too-human man who dares to defy a system obsessed with genetic perfection. Hawke stars as Vincent, an "In-Valid" who assumes the identity of a member of the genetic elite to pursue his goal of traveling into space with the Gattaca Aerospace Corporation. However, a week before his mission, a murder marks Vincent as a suspect. With a relentless investigator in pursuit and the colleague he has fallen in love with beginning to suspect his deception, Vincent's dreams steadily unravel.
Confidently conceived and brilliantly executed, Gattaca had a somewhat low profile release in 1997, but audiences and critics hailed the film's originality. It's since been recognized as one of the most intelligent science fiction films of the 1990s. Writer-director Andrew Niccol, the talented New Zealander who also wrote the acclaimed Jim Carrey vehicle The Truman Show, depicts a near-future society in which one's personal and professional destiny is determined by one's genes. In this society, "Valids" (genetically engineered) qualify for positions at prestigious corporations, such as Gattaca, which grooms its most qualified employees for space exploration. "In-Valids" (naturally born), such as the film's protagonist, Vincent (Ethan Hawke), are deemed genetically flawed and subsequently fated to low-level occupations in a genetically caste society. With the help of a disabled "Valid" (Jude Law), Vincent subverts his society's social and biological barriers to pursue his dream of space travel; any random mistake--and an ongoing murder investigation at Gattaca--could reveal his plot. Part thriller, part futuristic drama and cautionary tale, Gattaca establishes its social structure so convincingly that the entire scenario is chillingly believable. With Uma Thurman as the woman who loves Vincent and identifies with his struggle, Gattaca is both stylish and smart, while Jude Law's performance lends the film a note of tragic and heartfelt humanity. --Jeff Shannon
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Gattaca is a tale of genetic engineering. It isn't about those who are genetically engineered, rather about one person who wasn't. Vincent Freeman, played by Ethan Hawke, is a natural born person. A "God Child" as they say in the film. All he desires in life is to travel to space, but is aware that it will be impossible due to the fact that he was naturally born, and therefore has vision and heart problems. He later finds Jerome Morrow, played by Jude Law, and uses his DNA to fool the system. Eventually, he does make it to space.
This film contains plenty of twists and turns. There are numerous times when you expect Vincent to be caught, but somehow he manages. This is not a movie filled with action, but contains an in depth, gripping story instead. I recommend this movie to sci-fi, thriller, and drama fans alike. There is enough of a love story that my girlfriend enjoyed it, but not so much that it took over the story.
Look at parents in the world today. What competitive advantage will any parent
deny their child? What disadvantage will any parent willfully inflict on their
Now imagine that every parent has the power to choose which part of their genes
are passed along at conception. How many people would walk away from that power?
How many people would choose less than the best for their child?
Gattaca is a blueprint for how genetic engineering could spread like wildfire
throughout a society.
What is more powerful in a society than parenthood? Government perhaps?
Consider the health care situation today. Is it sustainable? Now consider how
to change it. There is an old idea called "the hoof and mouth cure." It goes
"If there are no hooves, and there are no mouths, then there is no
Would any government pass up the opportunity to eliminate health care problems
at conception? Imagine what could be done with the billions, the trillions, of
This is just the starting premise for Gattaca. I don't like to write spoilers,
so let me just say that the above "Utopia" has all the flaws we'd expect from
our own experience. There are no perfect people in this movie, not even close.
Neither are the science nor the government perfect: they're just groups of
Beyond that, Gattaca is a great example of a "science fiction" movie where the
science, and the special effects, dwindle into the background. This is not a
mega-budget CGE movie. Its a people movie.
Again, consider the degree of competitiveness today. Now imagine a world where
every person has the full power of reproductive science backing their individual
A more level playing field means that the small errors become more critical.
More focus is required. More self-monitoring. Less subconscious or impulsive
communication. Actions, even insults, must be limited to serve the person's
strategic goals. People have to be at their best, all the time. Social failure
is as fatal as work failure.
That's where the acting comes in. All the actors here are a part of this new
world, this new way of socializing and competing. There are no weak links in
the acting in this movie. The audience is left wondering about every character.
What is going thru this person's mind? These characters are all fully developed
individuals, and their words and actions, no matter how eloquent or direct, are
only part of that individual. The level of detail and nuance in the acting here
Gattaca is one of the most thoughful movies I've ever seen.
Its high degree of competence echos and underscores its basic story, in a
powerful and unsettling way. Can any of this be avoided?
An excellent movie, in my opinion. It is all about the plot and acting - no special effects or anything of the kind. It is slow pacing perhaps, but also highly suspenful.
It's more intellectual rather than action, with some talented actors. We saw this in the movie
theater once upon a time, and loved it then. Good plot, good script, intrigue. A little post-modern
in the settings and background. Inspiring message with a satisfying ending.
Best performances by Jude Law and Uma Therman. Alan Arkin too.