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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
- Aspect Ratio : 1.33:1
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- MPAA rating : s_medPG13 PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
- Product Dimensions : 7.5 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches; 4 Ounces
- Item model number : MFR043396826496
- Director : Andrew Niccol
- Media Format : Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
- Run time : 2 hours and 11 minutes
- Release date : June 30, 1998
- Actors : Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Alan Arkin, Jude Law, Loren Dean
- Dubbed: : French
- Subtitles: : English, Spanish, French
- Producers : Danny DeVito, Stacey Sher, Michael Shamberg
- Language : English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
- Studio : Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
- ASIN : 0767805712
- Number of discs : 2
- Best Sellers Rank: #25,339 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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(if you found my review helpful, click yes below!)
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.
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.
A lot of what I find problematic is how everyone appears to be working on a MBA or in some corporate accounting department. Everyone in business suits, even while being shot into space in some rocket!?!? It seems the only way the "genetically gifted" have to distinguish themselves is by wearing suits. Yeah, like good cowboys wear white hats the genetically "not gifted" wear jump suits. That sort of heavy handed imagery is used throughout the movie and I found it distracting and annoying.
Throughout the movie there is no real discussion about why Vincent wants to go into space. If he wants it so bad I'd think he would be talking about all the time. This is indicative of most of the movie for me. It's very shallow with 2 dimensional characters and only the most simple motivations. I like to have a little more development of motivations and just depth.
The pace of the movie is slow and plodding with scenes that often have dissonant elements that are presented in harmony (like going to space in business suits) . I kept wanting to skip forward for some plot point that would move the story forward a little more deliberately.
Two bright spots for me are Gore Vidal and Alan Arkin. Vidal was pretty much himself which I tend to find entertaining. Alan Arkin always turns in a great performance and I think he is great the detective in this movie.
I can't recommend Gattaca as a "science fiction thriller". If you like a identity change plot that is kind of slow and plodding and emotional/relationship focused this may be your movie. It's not mine. That's why I'm only giving it 3 stars. Yes, it's watchable, but not something I'll watch again.
Top reviews from other countries
The story centers around Vincent (Ethan Hawke), a genetically inferior man who takes on the identity of Jerome (Jude Law), genetically engineered to be perfect, but lacking in spirit and crippled after an accident, in order to realize his dream and be selected to travel into space. This grand deception threatens to come out when a director of the space program is found murdered and a couple of tenacious detectives appear on the scene.
The cast is exciting even by today's standards with Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman in the lead. The metamorphosis of Hawke's character from the lowly worker with all kinds of imperfections into, well... Jude Law, is quite amazing. Thurman is perfect as his aloof love interest in a world where lover have each other genetically sequenced before going on a date. Jude Law is excellent as the disillusioned Jerome. In further supporting roles you have Alan Arkin as detective and the great Ernest Borgnine as a janitor.
I love the deceptively simple way they went about creating the "not-too-distant future". Clean lines and minimalist interiors devoid of any trace of personality, everybody wearing generic business suits and sporting 50s haircuts. Absolutely love it when the crew walks into the space craft in their suits and ties. The ending is one of the best I can think of - absolutely perfect and lyrical beyond words. Fantastic film all round and recommended on every level. Even if, like me, you don't do Sci-fi.
As to the DVD I bought (see attached photo). Picture and sound are good, subtitles are available for those who need or want them. However, the DVD is one of those rather awkward double sided affair with no clear labeling. Apparently one side features a widescreen presentation of the film, the other side a full screen version. For me it was basically a matter of trial and error: insert the disc, select play and see what appears on the screen. I got it wrong first time round. Others may be cleverer with these type discs. The same extra features are included on both sides of the DVD. They are:
~~~ Theatrical Trailer
~~~ Documentary [making of featurette]
~~~ Lost Scenes
~~~ Poster Gallery
~~~ Photo Gallery
Version I got looks to be European - all the packaging text is in German with a green FSK/12 logo on the front corner. Menu & film itself though default to English with no subtitles.
Don't want to give away too much of the plot but the film is set in a near-future society where someone's genetic makeup determines their place in society. Those with sufficiently accurate DNA are described as 'Valid' and those without are referred to as 'Invalid'. One of the organisations in this society is the Gattaca space exploration corporation who only recruit Valids with the most perfect genetic profiles. The story follows someone (Ethan Hawke) who is an Invalid, but wants to travel into space and how he goes about achieving his goal.
Along the way though you get to appreciate the fantastic sets, retro-style outfits and understated acting of the cast. The interior & exterior of a Frank Lloyd Wright building in California is heavily used as a location and it suits the film perfectly.
Its not an action film - and there are no spectacular special effects - but its hugely thought-provoking around genetic selection, nurture verses nature, and human potential and achievement.
If you like great looking, intelligent sci-fi that will stick in your mind long after the end credits this is a film for you.
This future is on its way. It probably won't be as tidy as Gattaca though. It will be far worse.
That Michael Nyman though, he must have a head the size of Einstein to keep track of and put together "The Morrow". I wouldn't like to have to try to play it!
I give no apologies for this review, it is completely biased one, first things first, and this review is about the `Superbit' circ 1998. If this review is found next to another format version, please ignore.
A genetically inferior man assumes the identity of an enhanced genetically tweaked superior individual in order to pursue his ultimate dream of space travel; by doing this, he has committed the “crime” of using a “borrowed ladder” – by using the genetic profile of another person. Gattaca is in many ways is one the best films I have saw'. Just as people have been judged for centuries by the colour of their skin, their class or religious persuasion Gattaca predicts and explores the future where there will be a more subtle discrimination. It being a science fiction film helps make it more effective by allowing us to feel the emotions of the characters with little of our own history getting in the way. A haunting musical score goes well with the feeling of the film, with stunning visual backdrops and the very clear use of tinted lenses makes each scene vibrant eye candy.
Ethan Hawke as Vincent does a sterling job of displaying how the odds are stacked against from his very inception! This is someone whose life is limited before he even tries. However, just as fascinating were the theoretically superior characters; Vincent's girlfriend, brother and his genetic original who suffer from the lie that genetics can perfectly predict a person's life.
This disc plays well on a number of first generation DVD players. The colours are solid the sound is excellent; please note I did not try out the various sound enhanced systems, i.e. 5.1 Dolby, as I do not have this equipment. That said, the Superbit DVD was played on HD DVD player and HD Flat screen TV. The experience is mind-blowing; I cannot see the difference between picture quality on this DVD and some of the newer HD DVD releases. OK HD DVD is a defunct format, but it shows that upscaling this DVD gives it 'Angelic wings'. Is it worth buying? The answer is yes. This Superbit DVD makes a fantastic film, even more mind blowing.
Some years ago at a film event, I asked Ernest Borgnine, who played the janitor in the film, what he thought of GATTACA. In a rather dismissive way, he said he did not get it. Well, 'that is his flawed genome. If you would like to see a sci-fi film that is based on curious characters and thought provoking circumstances - and not explosions, try Gattaca. Enjoy!