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This film is about a boy named Vincent Anton (Ethan Hawke) who is born into a world where humans are created perfect before they are born. Using genetics and technology doctors are able to stop the child from EVER developing things such as: obesity, depression, violent moods, and even heart failure. The entire point is that this new generation this "perfect race" are not only given the chance of living a risk- free life. They are handed everything on a silver platter! The main character (Vincent) wants to be an astronaut for a living. This job is only given to the "new generation" I don't want to spoil anything so I think that's enough of a synopsis. This movie is incredible! It is, without a doubt, the best science fiction movie I have ever seen. The script is clever, the characters are consistent, the story line, while borrowing a few elements from previously made films, is original. And then there is the movie's score (background music) OH MY JEEBS! WHAT A SCORE! This is an almost flawless film from beginning to end. While Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman are good in their respective roles, the real winner here is Jude Law. His performance gave me goose bumps. WAY TO GO JUDE!
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.
A fascinating futuristic tale with a dire dystopia warning, it looks oddly beautiful, with a yellow colour scheme giving a glow to everything in front of the camera. As for the film itself, it is full of interesting ideas, and at least for the first half hour or so, these are well explored. The film unfortunately becomes lost in a murder plot towards the middle, and this stops it from exploring the most fascinating parts in more detail. Even so, it manages to be relatively gripping, and there is more than just the murder plot that is not all so good about the film. Michael Nyman's music is simply beautiful, but it is overplayed, and while on the subject of excesses, the sea symbolism could have been played down a bit more. The narration is not the best, neither is Thurman's performance, yet the film always manages to sustain a nature of enticement. The sets are great to look at, and Jude Law gives off an intriguing early performance. If not perfect science fiction, this is certainly worth a look.
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?
Everything about this film is just right - it's both accessible and intelligent. Visually it's exceptional and the casting is perfect. The Superbit DVD is one of the best I've seen and heard. When the mall-movies are wearing you down - watch this and have your faith in movies restored.
Gattaca explores a world where designer genetically modified babies spurn the next wave of human life eventually turning into the brilliant people of a new generation. Ethan Hawke's character, Vincent Freeman, wasn't as lucky' however, and in the 1990's was born as a then normal baby out of love by his parents. His brother on the other hand was given a genetic head start in life and seemed superior to Vincent in almost every way. Freeman's dreams of becoming a pilot in space and exploring planets are in tatters however, as who wants to take on somebody that has human imperfections. Not letting this change his ambitions, Freeman takes on the seemingly impossible task of becoming somebody else in order to make his ambitions a reality.
However, the changing world of Gattaca ensures that everybody is on record and that Freeman has to not only be somebody else in appearance but also must fake blood samples and urine samples as well as keep himself groomed to a state of paranoia so that no evidence of the real him can be found. Gattaca is excellent in almost every way exploring human instincts and emotions, whilst also highlighting principles and ambitions and the struggle to fit into a perfect society. The film is even more poignant in the now, as the issues of genetically modified babies are prevalent. Hawke's performance is also brilliant and Jude Law portraying a crippled man who could have had it all is also fine.
Uma Thurman gives an accomplished performance as Irene Cassini, a worker who sort of suspects something is out of order, but who goes along with her instincts of not saying anything anyway. Gattaca is a triumph and most scenes provoke deep thought. Some of the more emotional scenes are between the brothers, as the battle of pride takes them on the edge quite often especially as they play chicken with each other on the dangerous waves of the sea to prove what is better natural humans or modified beings.
A film doesn't need to be independent, nor DE-pendent upon special effects
to shine a mirror back on society's future for what it is (and what it has
the capability to evolve to), should the course of events proceed
I think the film moved me so much since I guess I have lofty goals about employers myself, and yet would NEVER be considered genetically sufficient enough to work there, should the "entrance" requirements become so stringent as DNA testing. Perhaps I empathized more with Ethan's character, or just appreciated a simple noir thriller, but nonetheless, each character seemed as real to me as if they were sitting next to me. Uma in particular astonished me with her apparently dormant ability to appear "cultured" & restrained (so who was that in Batman & Robin?).
Some people may have concerns that the film has too many open questions, yet the only question I found myself asking was, "what do all these people do on the weekend ... or do they even get weekends off?". :-)
This film represents what amazing film writing can actually do. This film has absolutely amazing dialogue and this film is not held by one actor but three. Jude Laws performance is mesmerising as he allows the viewer to understand his pain and it brings the 'human reality' to this picture, as you normally feel this film is just to much like 'Playing God' it doesnt harm the story but it does enhance it and its credibility. If you cannot lose yourself into this film then there isn't very much hope. Fantastic, Ethan Hawke proves his fame is well deserved and if you enjoyed his performance in this film you must have a look at Training Day. Top 3 film easily.
"Gattaca" is intended as a cautionary tale about genetic engineering. The
film takes place in a future world, not too far removed, where destiny is
determined by genes: all babies (except for a few "accidents," known as
"invalids") are genetically engineered to near-perfection, people are hired
on the basis of their genetic profile, and the imperfect products of
accidental births are relegated to low-status menial jobs. Our hero,
Vincent (Ethan Hawke), is an "invalid" who wants to rise above his genetic
destiny. So, in an elaborate scheme, he buys the identity of Eugene Morrow,
a genetically perfect athlete crippled in an accident, and gets the job he
always dreamed about in a space-exploration program. Complications ensue as
Vincent/Eugene is threatened with exposure and, at the same time, becomes
involved in a risky romance with his beautiful co-worker Irene (Uma
One problem with the film, in my view, is that the model of the future society in "Gattaca" was not sufficiently well-thought out. The narration (voice-over by Vincent) informs us near the start of the film that genetic discrimination ("genoism") is technically illegal but companies get away with genetic profiling under the guise of testing blood and urine for drugs. Yet throughout the rest of the film, the second-class citizenship of the "invalid" is taken for granted by the legal authorities. Nor does it make much sense that people would be hired for challenging and demanding jobs simply on the basis of a genetic test, with no interview and no testing of skills -- as Vincent/Eugene is hired at Gattaca. Even in a gene-obsessed society people would know that you can't always judge a worker on the basis of his or her POTENTIAL, which is all the genetic information can tell us!
The message of the film is that biology is not destiny; it is statistical probability, but the probability can be transcended by the individual spirit and will. It's a good message, no question about it. But its value is undercut by the fact that the futuristic model of genetic determinism challenged by the film is highly improbable and muddled.
The problems of the film are compounded by a weak murder-mystery element tacked onto the plot, and by the dull and bland acting of Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman. The most impressive and moving performance by far is that of Jude Law as the real Eugene Morrow -- arrogant, self-pitying, self-destructive, cynical, and yet in the end capable, it turns out, of true nobility.
Visually, "Gattaca" is powerful and striking; the film does a great job of creating the cold, sterile, inhuman look of an inhuman futuristic society. Particularly fascinating is the scene in which Vincent/Eugene, out with Irene for an evening on the town, loses his contact lenses; of course, Irene doesn't know that he has very poor eyesight. Seeing nothing but a blur of flashing light, he has to cross the street and then pretend to look at a beautiful sight Irene wants to show him.
Unfortunately, the visuals often end up overwhelming the story and the characters. "Gattaca" is worth a look, particularly for those who like futuristic films, but it does not live up to the importance of its subject.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I hate it when it happens. You know what I am talking about. Everyone
talks how great a movie is for more than ten years. You see it and you
are disappointed. The movie didn't live up to your expectations. Don't
tell me this didn't happen to you at least once.
It happened to me when I saw 'Gattaca'. For more than ten years I had been hearing how this movie changed someone's life, how this movie makes you think, how it is the greatest sci-fi movie ever. I don't know why I didn't see it earlier. I saw it just a few days ago on the TV. And it really made me think. It made me think how incredibly unbelievable the whole story is. Sorry.
Do you really thing it is possible for your genetic profile to be more important than everything else? More important than your talents and your intelligence? I don't think so. But even if it is possible there are a few more questions.
If you are a parent and you know your child is going to die because of a heart disease what would you think about? Vincent's parents didn't even consider the possibility of a heart transplantation to save their kid's life. They considered the possibility of having a new kid. Yet they acted like they love their first son. Well... I don't think I have to explain why did this make me angry.
About the medicine that was shown in this movie... I am not a doctor but I am quite sure something is not OK here. Well... The medicine has become so great so the doctors can predict what disease is going to kill you but they can't remove the scars caused by an operation? They can find if Vincent has some surgery on his eyes but they can't find if he is wearing contact lenses? There are a few more questions but I think that is enough. And why didn't anybody even look at Jerome's photo? No one even saw that Vincent's face is not even remotely similar to the face on the photo.
About the characters... There are only two characters here and they were not as developed as they had to be. At least Law's performance was very good.
There are some good things though. Jude Law was very good. The cinematography was stunning. And... That is it. 4/10.
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