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Director Andrew Niccol's Gattaca, in my humble opinion, is at the pinnacle of the motion picture art form. All aspects of the production serve the story spectacularly. The retro-style art direction, script, acting, music, and lighting all brought to life, much too chillingly, a cold and soulless world where the content of your genes counted for everything while the content of your character counted for nothing. Watching Ethan Hawke's (Great Expectations, Hamlet) Vincent evade the relentless pursuit of the authorities while pining to be on the Titan mission, romancing Irene (Uma Thurman), and micro-managing his samples from Jerome (Jude Law in a very impressive supporting turn) made for some the most riveting viewing ever. This story highlights the negative side of pursuing the eugenic ideal, an ideal that is not an unworthy pursuit, but one that must be approached with the utmost caution since its seekers hope to master a realm once the sole domain of the Divine.
Pity I didn't know anything about this movie when it came out in 97, I would've enjoyed watching it in the big screen instead of on my laptop screen. I've never been more inspired by any movie. This is an absolutely beautiful piece of art, from the scenery, the colours, everything. Ethan Hawke is fast becoming one of my favourite actors. His performance always lift me up. I know he almost play similar roles every time, i'll like him to play a different role actually, but in every movies he starred in (Dead poet's society, Great Expectations etc) i found that i always cared for his character and his performances never failed to touch me. Jude law is amazing as Jerome Morrow, I thought Uma thurman's character should be more developed, but she's perfect as irene. 8 out of 10. There's no gene for the human spirit.
I really enjoyed this movie. I found it to be a well constructed and
elegant exploration of some pretty frightening ideas. Ethan Hawke delivers
a subtle performance. Jude Law and Uma Thurman compliment an all around
superb cast. Memorable cinematography and set design. It absolutely makes
its point that "there is no gene for the human spirit."
See this movie, you won't be disappointed,
I rented this film cold at the video store -- and was very pleasantly
surprised with a very well done movie. If you don't know anything else
about Gattaca, the less you know, the better. Stop reading this review
right now, go watch it, and come back when you're done!
It was after my first viewing of the film that several little details dawned on me:
1) The term "borrowed ladder" is a utterly-brilliantly-conceived bit of future slang that carries a *double meaning*. I'm still amazed that the producers didn't make more of this. Instead, they were content to leave this gem to be discovered by the thinking and missed by the vast masses. I was very definitely impressed.
2) As I was explaining the film to my wife, it occurred to me in mid-explanation that this is really a film that has to do with what is properly called =eugenics=; one of the things the Nazis were about. Then my mind wandered to word etymologies: I recalled that the name "Eugene" = "well born." And then I realized...
3) It's interesting the extent to which so many of the characters in the film *didn't* live up to their genetic destiny, one way or another.
4) Because I hadn't seen any previews, I had no immediate reference for where the name "Gattaca" had come from. And then I suddenly realized...
5) It wasn't until I watched the movie the second time that I caught the effects with the title sequence letters...
Now I had figured out by this time that there were likely to be other intriguing little details I've missed, so I was fascinated to read from another reviewer here about the boy Vincent falling with a toy rocket in his hand.
I wonder what else is in there?
All in all, this is a very well written, tightly woven movie. Seen cold, with no real prior knowledge of the film, it came off as a tremendous science-fiction SUSPENSE THRILLER. There were several scenes that just had me climbing the walls with tension. Fabulous job!
And I'm not the only one who thinks so. When my WIFE says she wants to see a SCIENCE FICTION movie for the SECOND TIME... well, I don't think THAT has EVER happened before!
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.
This is a thinking person's film. Do not bother with it if you are
looking for typical sci fi special effects, action, and fast-pace.
I would especially recommend Gattaca to anybody who has been turned off to the genre of science fiction by the plot-heavy superficial trash Hollywood so frequently places under that label. This is a film which uses the power of the sci fi genre to great effect.
Gattaca is one of those movies which is better read than viewed as a film. It is a very cleverly contrived work of dystopian fiction, based on the simple premise of a future society where a person's entire life is basically assigned through their genetics. Though the future tense is implied in this film, I prefer to see it as more of a speculation on what might have happened if real world imperial-colonial powers of the early to mid-20th century had fully carried out their fledgling eugenics programs to a logical extreme. In the world of Gattaca, what you are allowed to do, where you are permitted to live, and how, are all determined by your genes, which are sampled almost constantly - about as many times as we are asked to show some form of ID daily.
Uma Thurmond, Ethan Hawke and Jude Law lend powerful performances to this film, and the love that grows between them - forged in Hawke's struggle to maintain the pretense of genetic perfection he requires to fulfill his career ambitions to become an astronaut - allows the human story behind the sci-fi to saturate the film. Hawke's character, though genetically flawed, has one thing that many of the genetic elite of gattaca lack - strong motivation. Ultimately, the film offers some very subtle, simple, and profound messages about the evils and injustices of ANY form of discrimination. It's a little disturbing, however, that nearly all of the genetic elite of this film were cast with white actors. The story also carries compelling messages about love and ambition. This is a work which I am convinced Ayn Rand would have enjoyed.
From a technical and artistic point of view, this film is pretty close to perfection. The film is beautifully shot and almost devoid of special effects. I remember a total of three explosions in this film (perhaps this is an all-time low for recent Hollywood sci fi?) - all of which were normal parts of rocket launches. Since this is not, by any stretch of the imagination, an action-oriented film, there is no need for the typical sci-fi gimmagery. Some of the artistic choices are a little over-the-top with symbolism - such as the anachronistic use of 1960s and 1970s sports cars. I think I understand this choice - as it emphasizes the fact that, had things gone differently in our own history, we could easily be living in a nightmare world like Gattaca today.
To sum up, if you enjoy a thoughtful film with a positive message , and don't mind a little discomfort along the way to that message, Gattaca is a film you will enjoy.
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.
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
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.
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.
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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