A genetically inferior man assumes the identity of a superior one in order to pursue his lifelong dream of space travel.A genetically inferior man assumes the identity of a superior one in order to pursue his lifelong dream of space travel.A genetically inferior man assumes the identity of a superior one in order to pursue his lifelong dream of space travel.
It's the near future and eugenics dominate a society where children are either "valids" (reproductive through eugenics) or "in-valids" (naturally birthed with inherent genetic flaws). One such "in-valid" is Vincent Anton Freeman (Hawke), who plots an intricate scheme to assume a "valid" person's identification so as to reach his dreams of being an astronaut.
There is no gene for fate.
Biopunk future meets tech-noir in this thought provoking and intelligent piece of sci-fi. There is a decent argument to suggest that Gattaca is more style over character substance, especially given that visually Niccol's movie is stunning. It's a near future world of genetic engineering where although discrimination is illegal, perfection rules the day and the "in-valids" are passed over for high grade employment. Identity, inferiority and bigotry are fused together to offer up moral quandaries and ethical conundrums, all set to an oppressive tech-noir backdrop painted by Idziak's deft choice of colour filters. There's a striking difference between the look of the Gattaca corporation compared to the rest of the outside world, this helps to keep the thematics at work rich and potent.
As a thriller it barely raises the pulse, but this is deliberate, as is the pacing by Niccol. This is an emotionally stunted world and the ethereal atmosphere hovers continually over proceedings. There's a romance in the mix between Hawke and Thurman, which on the surface seems a token sub-plot and devoid of passion, but again this feels deliberate, lack of passion is actually the order of the day. Cast performances are well up to scratch, with Law stealing the film as a one time "valid" ironically invalidated by an incident. And while we could have done with more from top performers Arkin (as a copper attired like a classical film noir gumshoe) and Elias Koteas (as Vincent's father), it rounds out as an impressively constructed picture.
Provocative and brainy, with visual pleasures unbound, Gattaca has many attributes that reward still further on repeat viewings. 8/10
- Mar 13, 2013