A genetically inferior man assumes the identity of a superior one in order to pursue his lifelong dream of space travel.

Director:

Andrew Niccol

Writer:

Andrew Niccol
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1,763 ( 379)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ethan Hawke ... Vincent / Jerome
Uma Thurman ... Irene
Gore Vidal ... Director Josef
Xander Berkeley ... Lamar
Jayne Brook ... Marie
Elias Koteas ... Antonio
Maya Rudolph ... Delivery Nurse
Una Damon ... Head Nurse
Elizabeth Dennehy ... Pre-School Teacher
Blair Underwood ... Geneticist
Mason Gamble ... Younger Vincent
Vincent Nielson Vincent Nielson ... Younger Anton
Chad Christ ... Young Vincent
William Lee Scott ... Young Anton
Clarence Graham Clarence Graham ... Personnel Officer
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Storyline

In the not-too-distant future, a less-than-perfect man wants to travel to the stars. Society has categorized Vincent Freeman as less than suitable given his genetic make-up and he has become one of the underclass of humans that are only useful for menial jobs. To move ahead, he assumes the identity of Jerome Morrow, a perfect genetic specimen who is a paraplegic as a result of a car accident. With professional advice, Vincent learns to deceive DNA and urine sample testing. Just when he is finally scheduled for a space mission, his program director is killed and the police begin an investigation, jeopardizing his secret. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A life is a dangerous thing to share. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for brief violent images, language, and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although SpaceX didn't exist when the movie was made, the Gattaca corporation now bears a strong resemblance to the ultimate business plan that SpaceX aspires to. See more »

Goofs

In the beginning when Vincent is putting the blood into the fake thumb he puts it on his left thumb but he always uses his right hand to get tested. This is because Vincent himself is left-handed, but Jerome is right-handed so he had to make the switch when he assumed Jerome's life. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Director Josef: You keep your work station so clean, Jerome.
Vincent: It's next to godliness. Isn't that what they say?
Director Josef: Godliness. I reviewed your flight plan. Not one error in a million keystrokes. Phenomenal. It's right that someone like you is taking us to Titan.
Vincent: Has the committee approved the mission? There's been talk of delay.
Director Josef: You shouldn't listen to talk. You leave in a week. You've got a substance test.
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Crazy Credits

After the credits complete, there is slow-motion footage, tinted blue, of the fingernails from the first scene hitting the pavement. See more »

Alternate Versions

The DVD contains deleted footage not included in the the theatrical release:
  • The original version of the "Eight Day Center" scene. Here the doctor offers Vincent's parents the possibility to further enhance the future Anton, charging $5,000. This is refused by both of them.
  • A briefing about the upcoming mission done by Director Josef. He is interrupted by Irene who tells him that the investigators wish to start their testing on all members of Gattaca.
  • Detective Hugo exposes Anton to be Vincent's brother.
  • Caesar tells Vincent to put the books away and accept his life.
  • Shortly before Vincent leaves for Titan, he visits Caesar and gives him a telescope.
  • A short sequence which shows some famous people who may had not been born if science had decrypted the human DNA sooner: Abraham Lincoln (Marfan's Syndrome), Emily Dickinson (Manic Depression), Vincent van Gogh (Epilepsy), Albert Einstein (Dyslexia), John F. Kennedy (Addison's Disease), Rita Hayworth (Alzheimer's Disease), Ray Charles (Primary Glaucoma), Stephen Hawking (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), and Jackie Joyner-Kersee (Asthma). The last sentence is: "Of course, the other birth that may never have taken place is your own."
  • Also included is an outtake where Xander Berkeley drinks one of the "urine" samples.
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Soundtracks

First Song (for Ruth)
Written by Charlie Haden
Performed by Stan Getz
Courtesy of Verve Records
By Arrangement with PolyGram Film & TV Licensing
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User Reviews

 
We now have discrimination down to a science.
13 March 2013 | by hitchcockthelegendSee all my reviews

Gattaca is written and directed by Andrew Niccol. It stars Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Jude Law, Gore Vidal, Loren Dean, Xander Berkeley and Alan Arkin. Music is by Michael Nyman and cinematography by Slawomir Idziak.

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


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

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Country:

USA

Language:

English | Esperanto

Release Date:

24 October 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Eighth Day See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$36,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,320,202, 26 October 1997

Gross USA:

$12,532,777

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$12,532,777
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS | DTS | Dolby Atmos

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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