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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

If everyone is perfect, than doesn't perfect simply become average?

Author: Britishboy
31 March 2005

In recent years, sci-fi movies have been primarily popcorn flicks. You would never see a really thoughtful film along the lines of Planet of the Apes, 2001, or even Logan's Run. We were given films about Bruce Willis blowing up an asteroid and movies about an alien fleet trying to blow up the world. Even Star Wars wasn't an intelligent movie. It was pure entertainment, but that was all it tried to be. Too many movies today are popcorn flicks with a moral tacked onto the end of the film. But every once in while, we find a diamond in the rough. Which is the case with Gattaca.

Gattaca takes place in the near future. It presents a future that is completely plausible and seems to be strangely familiar. In this future, genetic manipulation has become quite mainstream, leading many parents to choose the perfect traits for their children. These children have perfect features and no trace of birth defects. They are all intelligent and almost perfect. However, they are not the mindless robots coming off of an assembly line that you may picture. The entire idea is completely realistic and plausible.

However, some parents choose not to undergo this procedure, whether due to religious reasons or the inability to afford it. Regardless, these parents sometimes give birth to children with birth defects and other less-than-desired traits. These children are usually given the world's less-than-desirable jobs.

Such is the case with Vincent, our main character. He was born with a heart condition and was expected to die by age thirty. His parents learned their lesson, and when they had a second child, they made sure that he had superior genes. This leads to an unusual sibling rivalry between Vincent and his brother. As a child, Vincent dreams of working with the space program called Gattaca. He has the brain-power to do it, but his genes are holding him back. DNA checks are mandatory for all new recruits.

He continues into his adult life, getting a job as a janitor at Gattaca, which only increases his hunger for space. However, he soon finds a way out. Jerome Morrow is a former swimmer who becomes paralyzed from the waist down. After his accident, he simply fades off of the map. Through an "identity-dealer," Vincent finds that he can alter his appearance and use Jerome's DNA to get a job at Gattaca. In return he will pay Jerome a portion of his salary. So the two begin a life together. Vincent becomes Jerome and gets a job a Gattaca.

I don't want to ruin the entire story, but there are many interesting twists to keep your interest. The film also moves at an incredible pace, making the 101 minutes fly by. There are action scenes, but these are not Michael Bay action scenes by any means. Of course, that isn't a bad thing.

What I am trying to say is that this is an intelligent film. While anyone can enjoy it for its rich story and good performances, those interested in science will be the most interested. The film offers many references to genetics including Jerome's middle name (Eugene is a reference to eugenics, the branch of genetics involving gene manipulation), Jerome's spiral staircase (a DNA strand), and even the films name (letters used to label the nucleotide bases of DNA).

I must complement the film's cinematography. The films color palette is great, containing a lot of rich greens and blues. The look of the film is also great. It is very minimalist and just futuristic enough to keep things in line.

Performances vary from good to great, but everyone does a pretty good job. Ethan Hawke does a great job playing Vincent, but Jude Law steals the show as Jerome. His wit and humor contrasting some heavy drama makes him an unforgettable character. Also noteworthy is Uma Thurman's performance as Vincents uniformist love interest.

I must truly compliment Andrew Niccol. Had he simply written the script, he would deserve recognition. But his directing is spot on. The film is unique, smart, well-acted, and great to look at. Best of all, this is an intelligent movie. It will make you think about many things. If everyone is perfect, than doesn't perfect simply become average?


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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

One of the greatest sci-fis

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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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Looks beautiful

Author: rbverhoef ( from The Hague, Netherlands
17 January 2004

The production design of this movie is so perfect it is almost enough to like this movie already. Every scene looks great and together with a good cinematography it gives the movie a beautiful appearance. This is a science fiction movie with ideas instead of mindless action, and for some reason the look of the complete movie adds to this idea.

The story is set in the near future. Babies can be born the natural way or parents can genetically produce their child and make them as good as flawless. Vincent (Ethan Hawke) is born the natural way and therefore he has less chances than most others. His dream is to go in space but since he is an "In-Valid" as they call it in the movie, he probably never will. Then he finds a way to make his dreams real. A "Valid" person named Jerome (Jude Law) has lost the use of his legs and although he is almost perfect he can't do much without them. Vincent and Jerome become a team. Since every part of the body that contains DNA can betray you, Jerome has to give Vincent his blood samples, urine samples, hair, etc. and Vincent has a chance to enter the space program.

He is selected to go to Titan, one of Saturn's moons, and a person who was against this mission is suddenly murdered. An eyelash is found and it belongs to Vincent, of course, but since not Vincent but Jerome is working there at first he is not a suspect. Will he be discovered? In this way the suspense comes from more than one way. We have the murder case with the detectives (played by Alan Arkin and Loren Dean) trying to solve it, we are not sure whether Vincent has something to do with it, we don't know who suspects what, Vincent can be discovered anytime. He can be discovered by anyone as well, including the girl he is seeing. Her name is Irene (Uma Thurman). The story can sound a little complicated to you, but it definitely is not. Everything is pretty clear to us and although there are some surprises it is all done in a logical way.

Like I said everything looks great. The direction is important for that as well, and the actors find the perfect note to play their parts. Hawke is probably the perfect actor for the leading role here, Thurman does pretty well and Law is the best thing in every scene he is in. The supporting characters including Alan Arkin, Loren Dean, Ernest Borgnine, Xander Berkeley and Gore Vidal are also perfectly cast.

A drama without family deaths, a thriller without guns and explosions, a science fiction without aliens, what a relieve.

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8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

One of the 90s' best

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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8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Not so much science fiction as human drama and prejudice in a science fiction setting

Author: grandfunkfan from United States
30 December 2005

Gattaca is not so much science fiction as human drama and prejudice in a science fiction setting.

I had never heard of Gattaca until it was recommended to me by NetFlix. Gattaca is a great movie. Apparently it was not a box office success, but I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes drama and speculative fiction. Some other comments compare it to Blade Runner or 1984. Gattaca is thought provoking and stimulating without being over-blown with special effects and the idea that mankind is doomed to destroy itself.

I like the soundtrack; it is not a collection of pop songs or attempted futuristic designer songs, it just fits.

I won't recommend, as some comments do, to watch the movie several times to pick out gaffes. Just watch it once and enjoy it.

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10 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Stylish Sci-fi thriller whose true horror seems to be lost on most people

Author: wadeboi from Hollywood, CA
18 May 2006

I was intrigued by the cult popularity of this film and the fact that so many people seem to think this is one of the best films ever made. Frankly, I struggled to sit through the whole thing and I had to fast-forward through the ponderous stair-climbing scene.

"Gattaca" is reminiscent of 60s sci-fi horror films with its sterile atmosphere and melancholy characters. It's hard to relate to people with absolutely no joy in their lives. Ironically, in watching the first act of the film a second time, I thought the central character seemed happier in his life as an "in-valid."

Our hero's quest seems a bit far-fetched for the price he has to pay and, for the audience, the outcome seems like a foregone conclusion; lacking the impact of a twist ending in comparable films like the original "Plant of the Apes" or even "Soylent Green."

The subtext of sci-fi horror elements, such as invasive background checks and medical testing by employers as well as discrimination based on genetic attributes don't seem all that horrific because, sadly, they have been widely accepted business practices for some time.

I'm amazed to see so many reviewers comment on the "revelation" that in the future employers will discriminate on genetic perfection rather than traditional prejudices such as race, sex, etc. Numerous studies have confirmed that "good looking" people have better jobs and earn more. Men who are less than 6' tall earn more than shorter men, for example. Employers are often impressed with dubious measures of intelligence like college degrees, grades or standardized test scores.

I was also struck by the obvious incongruity of a world where both physical and mental perfection are prized, yet the demands of the career seem to require neither. How much physical perfection is required to sit at a computer keyboard? The work itself is obviously a white collar clerical job with the computer doing the serious mental work. We know it's clerical work because the filmmaker shows him in a cliché clerical setting: sea of cubicles with employees working like disposable, interchangeable parts in a large machine. A future where the best and brightest have only mindless bookkeeping tasks to challenge them is the real horror in "Gattaca."

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

GATTACA - Worth watching again and again

Author: kegalina from United States
26 February 2008

This movie is rife with symbolism. I show it to my biology classes every year. After seeing it 6x per year during each class, for eight years, it never ceases to amaze me how I see something new and different each time I watch it. This year, I noticed the themes of swimming and stars:

SWIMMING: Eugene - an Olympic swimmer; the swimming competition between Anton and Vincent-- and later Anton working out in a lap pool because he has never come to grips with the fact that Vincent beat him swimming. I wonder why the swimming theme was used in the screen play? My students have hypothesized that perhaps it means a "baptism" or "cleansing" but that's all speculation.

STARS: "Reach for the stars" -- setting high goals for yourself and working to achieve them. Stars are shown several times as they gaze into the sky Titan is the destination -- a moon of Saturn which appears as a star in our telescopes Astronauts "They say every atom in our bodies was once a part of a star. Maybe I'm not leaving, maybe I'm going home." -- a quote by Vincent.

Last year I realized for the first time the names of the characters: "Eugene" - or "True Gene" "Eu"= truth and "gene" = to create or to cause.

Vincent's last name is "Freeman" ... free from being a prisoner of DNA as he escapes its grasp and uses his spirit and determination to succeed.

(I felt stupid never thinking about those names before.)

The more you watch the movie, the more you begin to see.

My students' favorite part every year is how the silver medal turns "gold" as seen through the flames of the incinerator.

Age discrimination is another theme that is subtle. The "in-valids" they are testing in town are all older fellows, the killed director was young, his replacement under him, was old. The detective was older, and his boss Anton, was young.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

An imperfect man's struggle to succeed in a genetically perfect world.

Author: barry-knox from United States
21 January 2006

This film is a refreshing drama with incredible performances by Ethan Hawke, Jude Law, and Uma Thurman. While this film did not receive much acclaim and hardly anyone has seen it, it is the best couple of hours you will ever spend watching a movie. I could watch the movie again and again - and I do. In this movie a new underclass if "invalids" is created in the not too distant future when genetic engineering becomes the preferred form of procreation. Vincent Freeman stops at nothing to accomplish his dreams. A story of how dedication and perseverance can overcome the impossible. This movie is true testament to the human spirit. Never save anything for the swim back!

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Hello? Top 250 anyone?

Author: DrakeMcCloud from Northridge, CA
31 August 2004

How this movie is not in the top 250 is beyond belief. This was an amazing movie with wonderful acting, not to mention a wonderful story. Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman deserve more credit for their roles played in this movie, as does Jude Law. But how can anyone ignore the story, I truly believe this to be a warning for the "Not to Distant Future."

Genetic discrimination is truly possible, or, I should say, will be possible within all of our futures. Science is making progress by leaps and bounds, and is doing so at an ever rapid pace. To ignore the warning set forth in this movie would be a travesty.

If you listen closely to the news you can hear the progress, every day, "Science Advances Again," "New Cloning Procedure Tested." These are the headlines of science, buried deep within the newspapers of America, where, by the way, all the interesting news lies.

The sheer tactfulness of how this movie analyzes the future is classy, the colors of the movie are well balanced with the seriousness of the movies tone, and only add more to a movie that seems to have it all. The suits, hair styles and modernistic architecture also add to the movie's brilliance and tone.

This is a clever movie, "GATTACA" as everyone reading this probably knows, is a combination of the first letters of the four amino acids in DNA, as any introductory biology class would teach you, which is also why they show this movie in most Biology classes across America, and it is also where I first saw it.

I can only give my highest rating for GATTACA, it is a great movie, and watching it over and over again only adds to the experience. My official rating is 8.4/10.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Under-rated, thought pervoking film

Author: mbanwait from toronto
12 October 2002

It is unfortunate that Gattaca did not do so well at the box office back in 1997. But is has become sort of a cult film as people begin to rediscover it on video and DVD. I think it may have something to do with the recent innovations in genetic engineering and the success of the three main leads.

The first half of the film is quite intense and suspenseful as well as provides a canvas for many ideas on the theme of identity, class society and elitism, fate and destiny and control. Ethan Hawke does a great job as the fraudulent Vincent, and Jude Law is entertaing as the borrowed ladder.

Watch this film when you really feel like thinking after the movie, as the movie has little action.

I think this flick will become a sci fi classic in the years to come and dumb overblown sci fi wannabes such as armageddon and mission to mars will have been forgotten.

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