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Gattaca
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Reviews & Ratings for
Gattaca More at IMDbPro »

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11 out of 14 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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11 out of 14 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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13 out of 18 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:

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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12 out of 17 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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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Sci Fi As It Should Be

9/10
Author: morphion2 from Australia
7 January 2006

'Gattaca', the 1997 sci-fi film, has definitely done its part in adding to the culture of cult films around the world. Whether it's the disturbingly familiar future-society that the film depicts, the ethical and moral nightmare scenarios that it entails, or something subliminally appealing, this piece of film found its audience and cemented its place in history.

In the 'not-too-distant future', the world of genetics has expanded to previously unimaginable proportions, wherein a person's entire life story can be told with just a drop of blood or a strand of hair. In this post-genetics world, science has perfected the art of life; children are no longer born biologically, but rather their parents give their sperm and eggs to laboratories and they deliver the best child that can be produced from these genes. Children who were not conceived this way are referred to as "in-valids" and society deems them accordingly. It's a whole new type of discrimination, but one that Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke) is not willing to accept.

Vincent is an in-valid who has always had the dream of going into space. Refusing to accept his pre-determined life, Vincent consequently adopts the identity of another man whose genes make him 'valid'. Jerome Morrow (Jude Law) agrees to let Vincent have his identity if he will provide Jerome with a place to live. Using samples from Jerome's body disguised as his own (blood, urine, hair), Vincent becomes employed in the Gattaca Aerospace Corporation as Jerome Morrow and after many years in the job, he is finally given the opportunity to go up into space on one of Gattaca's frequent launches.

When the director of the Gattaca Aerospace Corporation is murdered, however, investigations into the crime put into question Vincent's true identity, and he soon finds that his long deception could be unraveled and his life-long dream could be shot down in flames. With only fellow colleague Irene (Uma Thurman) and Jerome on his side, Vincent must race against the powers that are trying to put him back into the social hole he was supposedly born into and put an end to the life he has worked so hard to build.

The film has a very sorrowful approach to what sounds initially like a very lame plot. It's cinematic and stylistic without being pretentious or overdone, and the way it is shot and put together reflects very well the film's bland and sterilized society in pursuit of perfection. The chilling sense of realism that goes with the world of Gattaca makes everything within it become more than just a strange concept in a science fiction film. Not unlike Spielberg's 'A.I.', Gattaca very cleverly draws from horrors within our society today to suggest the terrifying prospect that our science will eventually render us, as a natural species, obsolete.

Director Andrew Niccol has done a fine job in transforming this sci-fi flick into something much deeper and more interesting. The writing is not spectacular, but is still better than most. Hawke's narration provides very good atmosphere for the film as he talks about the way of the world in this eerie future and the film's theme is very secure, with events such as the murder being practically irrelevant. The thing that matters most is Vincent's dream and the social inequalities that prevent him from actualizing it, and this is made very clear from beginning to end.

The acting performances are all very adequate, but the stand-out ones are Ethan Hawke and Jude Law, who seem so comfortable in their characters and, truth be told, share more chemistry than Hawke and Thurman do. This was one of Jude Law's first feature films, and it is a remarkably impressive debut.

Basically, this is a film that says what it means. Even in a world that has successfully bred perfection, people still suffer, the system is still unjust and lives still go to waste. Far from just being an unrealistic portrayal of what the future will hold, 'Gattaca' questions the ideals of mankind, the principles of civilization and leaves us to wonder what we, as a society are truly striving for.

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6 out of 7 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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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Thought Provoking, Engrossing, And Fascinating Little Flick!

9/10
Author: callanvass
14 May 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

this is a fascinating, and engrossing little flick, that i throughly enjoyed!. The Performances are almost Oscar worthy in my opinion, and the it's always engrossing,and character driven, however it was a bit confusing at times, and i thought it ended a little abruptly, however i was engrossed all the way, and Ethan Hawke, and Uma Thurman are absolutely fantastic in this!. I loved the designs, and the film feels very polished, and stylish, plus i loved the scenes between Vincent and his brother Anton they were great. This is a great fascinating little flick, that i throughly enjoyed, and i can see why it's so popular, i highly suggest you see this, it's worth it. The Direction is great. Andrew Niccol does a great job here, with great, camera work, awesome designs, keeping the viewer thinking, and it had a polished and stylish feel it to it as well, plus he kept the film at an engrossing pace!. The Acting is almost Oscar Worthy!. Ethan Hawke, gives an almost Oscar Worthy performance here, he is extremely likable, had awesome chemistry with Uma Thurman, and Jude Law, is amazing in the acting department, and was just interesting all the time!. Jude Law is excellent here, he is a great actor, and i can see why the people rave about him!. Uma Thurman is STUNNINGLY GORGEOUS, and is fantastic here, she had awesome chemistry with Ethan, was interesting to watch, and her character, was nice and mysterious, i really like her. Loren Dean is good as Vincent's brother loved the swimming scenes. Overall this is a must see! **** out of 5

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

One of the greatest sci-fis

10/10
Author: jankat_666 from Turkey
28 January 2005

I think this is one of the most fantastic science-fiction film ever made.It is so wonderful because it is not trying to draw our attention with its special effects(it has no special effects).

The script is just what I wanted.The isolation of the "not too far future"...In Gattaca world there are some "perfect human beings" and another kind which is naturally born.And this second kind is not tolerated.The first kind

even don't want to shake hands with the second kind. You see what I mean?It is just fantastic.The cast is perfect,too.Especially,Ethan Hawk and Jude Law as a team are fantastic.

SO I really think you should watch it(****/out of four).

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8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

One of the 90s' best

10/10
Author: nablaquadro from Ravenna, Italy
20 December 2006

Gattaca arranges perfectly between the best movie of the 90s, probably at the top, for his multiple nature, equidistant from sci-fiction to social drama. The apocalyptic future is here portrayed not with aliens' invasions or mechanical creatures. Instead, with a "rational" decadence where Valid and Invalid people (translation: perfect and not perfect people) are classified to leave the planet towards a new, better world. The insane project to classify a society through rules of perfection was cherished from the worst dictators in history but here, with the help of science, playing to be God seem to have a legal appearance.

The denunciation purpose is clear, but the experience gifted by Gattaca goes beyond. The minimalistic art direction recall extraordinarily the idea of a "near" future, so credible to seem real.

A single paragraph deserves the soundtrack. Composed by the great Michael Nyman, its oneiric sounds underline every meaningful scene of the movie. The theme, the largo, the Schubert's ballad, and then again the largo with the piano addition, then the theme again. Gorgeous, ardent, a rare experience.

All the actors fit perfectly their role: Uma Thurman is trapped in an algid beauty, but remains irresistible. Jude Law is very good, like his future roles have proved. Ethan Hawke fits for his role remaining though a little rigid, lost, in front of the camera, lucky that the role of Vincent it's a bit like that. Besides of other little roles, the whole movie is held up by these 3 actors and by their dialogues. An ambitious project, written and directed by Andrew Niccol (whom unfortunately disappointed me for the mediocre S1m0ne and Lord of War), that accomplishes all his targets.

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