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Britishboy

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Gattaca (1997)
5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
If everyone is perfect, than doesn't perfect simply become average?, 31 March 2005
9/10

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?

9/10