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Gattaca
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13 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Should be in the top 250.

10/10
Author: TheDentist from United Kingdom
20 November 2007

This is so great on so many levels. The acting was perfect. The plot was so unbelievably awesome. The direction was great (im surprised Andrew Niccol hasn't done more films) The film on the whole was excellent. It is definitely up there with my favourites. All i can say is that you must watch this film. My friend told me to watch it, i wasn't really bothered but when i did i was pleasantly surprised.

I am honestly shocked that i had never heard of this film before my friend told me about it, i thought it would of had as much publicity as one of the same genre, as minority report, but unfortunately it didn't.

A outstanding film, which is hard to believe its not in the top 250.

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15 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

It's a bit cool and creepy, but slow and too self-conscious to really make a dent.

6/10
Author: secondtake from United States
24 February 2010

Gattaca (1997)

An interesting concept, with terrific set design, and some headliner talent. Overall the plot dragged, and in a way, once you got the idea, it started to flatline, as if the variables of what might happen were limited. In fact, some of the outcomes were almost laughable because they were trying so hard to pull some heartstrings and wrap the thing up in a story-telling way. The parallels of the lift-off and the incineration, so calmly done, and the second swimming contest at night are both ludicrous if only because they are so heavy-handed.

Not that there aren't interesting aspects all along. It's not a boring movie, just stretched thin. It lacks atmosphere the way Solaris (2002) or 2001 (1968) have atmosphere, but it is paced in the same deliberate way (almost). Not that it intends such weighty philosophical poetry. No, Gattaca is a sort of reach for the stars movie, out to remind us that humans are the best, flaws are part of perfection, and romance only goes so far.

Ethan Hawkes is fine in this, and so is Uma Thurman, but since everyone is supposed to be a bit machine-like, we can't expect highly emotional performances, even when they are making love (not shown). Alan Arkin certainly gets the post-modern detective award, wearing a long coat and bowler inside at all times, as all detectives should, and he's clever but not quite clever enough to solve the crime. Other minor characters, including Jude Law, do their best to fill in the chinks of a very calculated effect.

In a way, this made me think of the Law/Paltrow extravaganza, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow(2004), not for any visual similarity, but just for the sense of an artificial future and an awkward love affair in the midst of it, and if neither movie is great exactly, both are really interesting and fun. But Gattaca, by comparison, is so intent on dulling the comic book aspects that are a little bit at play, in favor of the sterile future that may or may not ever happen, it chills the whole experience. We can't quite take it all serious (there will never be a number to our heartbeats before we die, nor a way to know when that number would be counted), so why not push it into something more fanciful, surreal, fun, or just futuristic. Never mind reality.

All that said, sci-fi fans should love this overall, if the idea is what counts most. DNA manipulation, and screening our progeny before birth, is presented as a weirdly normal activity, a little cold, for sure, but nothing immoral. The idea of just having sex and being in love and letting it all fly, take what the roll of the dice gives you, is presented as a model of the perfect life (which is what most of us do, of course)...until the end, when it slips a little back into boyhood dreams come true for those who persist and cheat and are really really pretty and selfish. Which not all of us are at all.

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16 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Inspiring and moving. A flawless example of great film-making.

10/10
Author: Wyn from Chateau du Loir, France
6 December 2004

This film will go with me to my desert island. I have watched it numerous times over the years and I continue to be astonished by its perfection.

The script, casting, direction, lighting and beautifully appropriate music combine to create something inspiring and moving. The retro style is used to great effect, this being a device often used in film-making and in this case it seems to put the film outside any fixed time frame; we are not distracted by futuristic images or special effects so we can focus on the essentials and on the immediacy of the subject. What a fine touch also to allow us to feel sympathy as much for those programmed to succeed as for those destined to fail. Unlike his brother who, theoretically, should not fail to achieve all his goals, nothing was expected of Vincent so, with great courage, he could reach for the stars; he had nothing to lose.

I thank the writer and director, Andrew Niccol, for his great creation.

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16 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Perhaps the greatest sci-fi film of the 90's. Kubrick may have liked this one.

10/10
Author: Bogey Man from Finland
2 June 2002

Andrew Niccol began his feature film career as a director and writer with Gattaca (1997) which is very surprising science fiction(?) movie with all its feelings and important subject matters. Stuff like this unfortunately don't come too often from Hollywood, and I think that Gattaca too wasn't very successful at the box office, because stupid mainstream couldn't find anything interesting in it. Gattaca is set in the near future, where DNA technology has developed so hugely, that it is possible and advisable to manipulate the developing fetus and make it become as the parents and society wants. No fat guys, no diseases, no bald heads, nothing leaved for destiny. All manipulated and all persons to become the same.

This may not sound too interesting written like this but as a movie with the theme mentioned above, this is fantastic and has also a thriller elements in it, and thus the film is also extremely exciting in its suspense. The film studies what it is to be an individual. The strong element is that people should not tamper with God's work and Nature's creations, as the results are always the same: disappointment and destruction, because human beings should/must not do things they are not allowed to do and things that they don't know. Human being has feelings and emotions, and no one should not disturb them by making some changes physically to others. There is also that larger than life question that what waits us once we leave this world we live in. That is the point, because people who believe in God know also that there is no way we can tamper His work or try to change something we don't know or even understand. These things are very philosophic and the more the viewer likes to think and use brains, the more this little film unfolds. Everyone sees it in his/her own way, and they who don't see anything in it, don't understand cinema and have no ability to interpret it as an art form. Gattaca is eternal movie, and the answers the film asks we may get once we experience the same thing as Jerome/Eugene (Jude Law) experiences at the end..

This film shows what it is to be man and what it must no become. We are individuals, no one is exactly like some other (excluding nature's own creations like identical twins), and that is the rule of the Nature. If science makes all the people same and alike, what is the point to live in that kind of world? There are so many others and they are like you/me, so let them live and go on by the rules of "life." It is no use to do this since some other may do it. Those who think that person can be manipulated and to become as wanted/required, don't understand that no one can manipulate the complex and personal brains in which the real personality lives. Or does someone believe that science can create many ultra wise soon-to-become presidents or persons who will make many important inventions in the future? I think that science is able to remove something from brains/personality but not ADD something there.

Gattaca is very wise and contemplative film and deals with important themes of personality, privacy, happiness (of being a human and having a personality), friendship and living (in our world and after it). Gattaca is also incredibly effective piece of cinema and very beautiful piece of art as Michael Nyman'n music is again gorgeous and photography totally stunning. The colors and over all use of camera is among the greatest I've ever seen. The colors are close to Dario Argento (although Gattaca and Argento's work are very different!) and this is a film, I think Stanley Kubrick would have liked: very intelligent and provoking and cinematically stunning at the same time. Like 2001: A Space Odyssey in other words.

The actors are also great and give their finest. Uma Thurman is so sensual and talented in her role, Jude Law is fantastic as unhappy person who doesn't think he fits in the society he is born to. Ethan Hawke plays the lead part as Jerome/Vincent, who is born "in-valid" as he has not been manipulated to "perfection" before birth, unlike his brother. The actors are fantastic and do nothing wrong. We can feel exactly the same feelings the characters do and that is a sign of their talent.

Gattaca is the kind of film that after the first viewing the viewer may have the feeling that it has to be seen immediately again. And that was the case with me: I viewed this immediately again after I'd watched it for the first time. And this magic will last for several viewing times and the film will unfold more and more. It would have been fantastic to see this on big screen, but it worked on television, too.

10 stars out of ten for this unique and brilliant masterpiece, and hopefully the director can continue his personal line, and avoid commercial productions at any cost. As highly recommended as possible, but only for the fans of intelligent cinema.

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17 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Change The World So I Am Happy

4/10
Author: Archangel Michael from United States
29 July 2015

Spoilers Ahead:

Beyond the esoterics of moral reasoning, which when you are residing in Typee 2015, it is a bit anachronistic, could we talk about the probabilities of the script. How many close calls are in this script? How many near misses over and over? Vincent is residing in one of the most totalitarian periods of human history and even within its silly parameters the likelihood is painfully contrived. Finally, as if Niccol sensed this, we have the doctor being a confederate who backs him up. That helped, but the number of near misses on being caught rivaled a James Bond movie. Then there is a small ethical problem, forgive me. Yes, I know we have the scenes of him beating his genetically superior brother at swimming but tell me: wouldn't it follow logically that we should let people with heart conditions have jobs that may put others lives at risk. I find the logic inescapable if you accept this film's moral reasoning. When we accidentally hear his heartbeat, when he makes that mistake on the treadmill: I ask you, would you like your life depending upon his defective heart? I am heartless, no pun intended, for saying I could not give a poop if it hurts his delicate feelings, his emotions are not worth other peoples' lives. See the deadly consequences of quixotic narcissism? Just so he is happy, that is all that matters. How about blind airline pilots? Don't hurt their feelings, you mean creep!

See, when I watch the movie, I see PC ideology allegorically preached. Vincent has a bum ticker, miraculously, and quite improbably, he has survived and excelled as Jerome's changeling. Let's grant the extremely unlikely probability of his heart miraculously defying medical science. Even then, peoples' feelings about being barred from doing jobs that could kill other people, due to their dangerous anatomical defects, should be predicated upon risks to lives and not the PC: how we make them feel. Yes, isn't it lovely that Vincent gets to see Saturn, now how about if he has a fatal heart attack at a critical moment and kills everybody? Was Vincent's emotional fulfillment worth their lives? Non Sequitur. The acting is fine, Law, Hawke and Thurman do well. It was great to see old Ernest Borgnine in his final role.

The movie is well acted and well written except for the myriad close calls that strain credulity. The ethics are poorly thought out; they reflect the New Age Zeitgeist of the canonization of personal feelings above costs to others' lives and safety. The character himself, with that damaged of a heart, is utterly unreal and contrived. How people feel about their limitations should not cause society to put others' lives in great danger in order to assuage their unhappiness with their fate. I am very unhappy Michael Jordan can jump two feet higher than I can. I do not expect the world to lower the basketball hoops and wreck the game so I don't feel so inferior to him. Again, reason before emotion, please. Q.E.D.

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13 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Best Movie that was forgotten...

10/10
Author: swaggaz from USA
3 November 2004

When you look at the 90's and remember all the great movies, everyone always leaves out Gattaca, one of...if not the best movies of the 90s and all time

the movie has a relaxed kind of approach to itself where it tells the story of Vincent, who is the ultimate under dog in a world where perfection is a goal, he has a sickness that would put a stop to all his hopes and dreams, but he works his way through it all with the help of Jerome Morrow who lends Vincent his identity for a dream of being able to go into space

all goes well until a murder happens at Gattaca, the main base of operations where Vincent (aka Jerome) works so he would be able to go into space

the movie has twists and turns, a great cast of actors/actresses, an amazing soundtrack, and direction style that is great, all around the movie is awesome, a timeless classic that shouldent be forgotten

10/10, go buy/rent/watch this movie now

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14 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

One of the most important films of the 90's

10/10
Author: tim miller (astorix@aol.com) from schenectady, ny
31 March 2001

Without getting into the plot, which is more than adequately covered elsewhere here, I'll briefly summarize why I think Gattaca's two main messages are important. I'd even suggest that this film would be excellent viewing for a high school ethics or English class, with the topics in the film giving plenty of fodder for class discussion. An obvious point, of course, is how the direction of today's genetic sciences could be leading us dangerously to the brink of a new form of discrimination, a society of genetic have's and have not's. Research in genetics has and will continue to yield invaluable tools in fields such as medicine and criminology, all to the benefit of humanity. Like any science however, it can have a dark side when the potential outcome of its abuse is not carefully considered. Perhaps more importantly though, there is another message in Gattaca that exists in the here-and-now of our lives, and not in a potential future. It's a message of inspiration for the ordinary who believe they weren't gifted enough to achieve a goal, and a warning to the gifted that even for them, one can not rest easily and have achievement handed to them. Like the fable of the turtle and the rabbit, victory goes to the one with the determination and drive. No musician worth listening to ever got to where they are without years of practice, regardless of how naturally music may come to them. This can apply to nearly anything, and I think this is where Gattaca really shines.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Comment on Gattaca

Author: tine4138 from Germany
27 June 2005

I think Gattaca is one of the best movies about genetic engineering I've ever seen! It's a very emotional and dramatical film. The actors play their roles very well, so that you can identify with them closely. Because of this point it becomes clear that this is not only a science fiction movie but that it could be our future. The quality of the film is not described in big action scenes or special effects but in philosophical questions of our society. It shows that the discrimination of inferiors is a big role in our society. It make the viewer think about the perfection and the individuality of the humans. At the end you can say that this movie is more than a typical action film because it has a critical meaning in view of our society!

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13 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Intelligent & moving

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
21 December 2001

In the not too distant future, genetic engineering is the most common form of childbirth. Those born naturally in an uncontrolled fashion form a social underclass. One of the underclass Vincent, dreams of working within Gattaca and making it into space. He combines with Jerome who was disabled in an accident to take his identity and live his live. Vincent takes his idenity and daily eradicates all proof of his own genetic makeup. However a murder within Gattaca reveals the presence of an invalid and the police begin their search for Vincent.

This is a very intelligent look into the future where racism etc has been replaced by a bias formed around one's genetic makeup. This builds a two-tier story around Vincent trying to pass off as a valid and around the murder investigation of the space programme's director. However to say that this story is just that is to ignore the layers of humanity that are looked at in the film. The real Jerome shows how elitist the valids are and how they look down on those below, but he also shows how they are only human and have the same feelings, fears etc. Vincent is the character we associate with - being excluded from society because of his genes, he is the vision of persistence that we all want to be. We see his father design a second son with his own name and the background he experiences. We also signs of humanity all round and it is as much a look at present day racism etc as it is a futuristic sci-fi. The story around the murder investigation concludes with several twists that tie the two strands together - this takes the story of Vincent to another level and it is quite moving to watch.

Ethan Hawk is really good here, as is Jude Law. I found Uma Thurman a bit cold to watch and she was without much character but I assume that this was how she was meant to be . Alan Arkin is excellent as the (I assume) natural born detective who has to call a much younger man Sir because of his genes. The supporting cast is well filled out with strong actors including Elias Koteas, Gore Vidal, Ernest Bourgine and, er, Blair Underwood.

Overall a moving intelligent sci-fi that is clever throughout. How many modern films can you say that about?

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Timeless and poetic exploration of issues of identity.

9/10
Author: Alex-Tsander from United Kingdom
4 September 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie does a number of ingenious and remarkable things : 1. It makes the extraordinary ( space exploration ) seem completely routine in a way not accomplished since 2001 A Space Odyssey. But in total contrast to the latter, instead of achieving this effect through the vivid portrayal of technology with engineering exactitude, it does it by showing almost no technology whatsoever. Rather scenes of the completely anodyne. The "astronauts" wear business suits and work in an office.

2. It creates a sense of timelessness by using almost featureless sets reminiscent of a classical play and paraphernalia re-cycled from other times ( such as the cars and the back-projection displays ). The feel of the film is in a very positive way reminiscent of Alphaville.

3. It employs completely impractical technical devices in such an effective theatrical way as to render their impracticality irrelevant. For example, it is possible to identify someone by a genetic "fingerprint" generated from a hair follicle ( but not in itself a hair ) or skin, but such traces would not facilitate a break-down of the persons genetic character, as pretended here. These are two different orders of measurement. Indeed, urine, which features centrally in the plot, is of no use on either account, not being a body tissue in any case. Only the blood tests would facilitate both identification and genetic analysis as shown in the story. Yet, in spite of knowing these things, the use of such devices as a plucked hair in the story is made so poetically as to become effectively a perfect metaphor and so beyond criticism on grounds of mere realism. To me, this seems almost unique. To do the wrong, obviously, yet aptly.

4. The plot is so contrived as to convene three parallel stories into convergence: Vincents story, of course. But also the directors story, which is oddly similar ( his life's ambition in the flight of the mission can only be fulfilled by killing the man who would have axed it ). As is that of the son of the biologist mentioned at the end.

5. The movie actually achieves what most dramatic art strives for but fails to do: the story resonates far beyond the limited scope of the dramatic enactment. Vincents dream and the challenges posed by society's prejudices is a story that is eternal and universal. As are other issues brought up: sibling rivalry, the "straight" way to a mediocre life as against the "crooked" yet heroic path toward a greater truth. Most profound is the way in which the paralysed Jerome actually becomes an immortal, historical space-farer Vincent, destroying his mortal self to do so, leaving as his legacy the realisations by the other man of his dreams. This is both incredibly ingenious and thought provoking, creating a mood that lingers long after the credits roll. I doubt that vicariousness has ever before been made so realistic a possibility.

The atmosphere, mood and languid tempo yet with a sense of inevitability is greatly aided by Michael Nyman's score.

This is one of the very few movies in which a narrator is entirely apt and not a mere convenience.

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