Gattaca (1997) Poster

(1997)

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10/10
One of the finest movies of the decade.
johnbee-217 July 1999
Gattaca is a brilliant under-rated piece of cinema that the not-too-distant future will, in retrospect, see it as one of the more outstanding movies of the nineties. It is prolific, stylish, thought-provoking, and one of the few recent science fiction movies that totally foregoes special effects and does it well.

There is nothing about Gattaca that I didn't like. It is a subtle piece of art that reminds of the writing of Ray Bradbury. Technology (the core element of science fiction) is only the backdrop for the story of a man who goes against all odds, including his brother, and overcomes those odds.

Make sure you watch it more than twice. There are many subtle details that you'll miss if you don't (ie, Gattaca's doctor asks, "Have I ever told you about my son?" not even five minutes into the movie, and childhood Vincent falls down holding a toy rocket...) and it's these small details that create a tapestry of cinematic artistry.

The soundtrack is phenomenal. The sets are noir and stylistic, and (thankfully) instead of trying to present a realistic physical future Niccol instead vies for the FEELING of the future: constrained, restricted, and patterned.

Watch it before it's cool to have watched it.
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7/10
Thoughtful Science Fiction
BB-1515 February 1999
Gattaca is in many ways the best film I have seen about prejudice. Just as people have been judged for centuries by the color of their skin, Gattaca predicts that in the future there will be a more subtle discrimination. It being a science fiction film helps make it more effective by allowing us to feel the emotions of the characters with little of our own history getting in the way. A haunting musical score goes well with the feeling of the film.

Ethan Hawke as Vincent does a fine job showing the pain of someone whose life is limited before he even tries. But just as interesting were the supposedly superior characters; Vincent's girlfriend, brother and double who suffer from the lie that genetics can perfectly predict a person's life.

The film that Gattaca most reminds me of is Blade Runner. They are both about genetic engineering gone very wrong but Gattaca takes a very different approach. The problems are more subtle in Gattaca involving our own desires for success for ourselves and through our children. Amazingly, Gattaca is a good science fiction film with a small budget, few special effects and mostly filmed in existing modern buildings.

After seeing this film for a second time I liked it even better as the plot seemed more plausible. If you would like to see a sci-fi film that is based on interesting characters and situations and not explosions or special effects, try Gattaca.
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10/10
Uses science fiction to explore ideas, and reveal some depths of the human spirit
taishi812 July 2001
"There is no gene for the human spirit." This is the TAG line of the movie Gattaca, a film that searches deep within the heart of man. This is one of Ethan Hawke's strongest performances as a man who refuses to trust the odds, and relies on fate and sheer will to achieve his dreams. He borrows the body of a man without dreams, played by Jude Law in his best performance to date as well. Law simply captures every scene with his sly intelligence and deeply darkened soul. He has no illusions about life, or himself, and he is the perfect counterpoint to Hawke's unrelenting dreamer.

The performances only enhance, however, a wonderful script by first time writer/director Andrew Niccol. It deals with science fiction and the future in the best way, by exploring ideas. He quickly and easily presents a future not unimaginable, and truly existing in a "not-too-distant future." Genetic engineering is happening today all the time in areas outside the human species, and sometimes within. How long will it take before the gloves are taken off and science truly starts to decide the type of people humanity will become? What issues will be addressed when that time comes? Niccol addresses many of them already, mostly dealing with the discrimination that would probably take place in society. The most subtle and yet important question he asks though is whether a man is truly the sum of his genes, or could his spirit somehow carry him beyond all expectations? Such thoughts are dealt with through intelligent characters given intelligent diolague and placed with intelligent situations. It is interesting how such a thoughtful picture can be at time a real thriller to watch as well.

Gattaca is one of my favorite movies because it is not afraid to address important issues that are truly current in modern day society, and do it with great thought and heart. It wisely stresses the subtle theological questions of whether man ought to tamper with God's work, and whether the result would be a better society, or a better humanity.
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8/10
The most underrated movie of the 90's
Andrew-1621 February 2000
This movie is incredible--yet the only ones who seemed to like it when it came out are the type whose favorite movie is "True Lies". It became critically ignored, which I can not understand at all. The themes of this movie-of superiority/inferiority, of identity, of destiny, they're all there. For those of you that haven't seen this movie, it is about a eutopian society where the highest ranks work at a space program named Gattaca. Vincent (Ethan Hawke) has wanted to work there since he was a child, but since his parents did not "pre-order" him, he was born inferior (a 99 % chance of heart failure by the age of 30, physical and mental problems, etc. ) to his "ordered" brother Antoine. Vincent has always seen something in a rival in his brother, because his brother is their dad's favorite, and he seems to have everything going for him. Vincent's job is as a janitor at Gattaca, with the hope that he will get in some day, but all the have to do is get a fingerprint of Vincent's, or a blood sample, or anything, and they know all about him, his profile, his life expectancy, etc. No one will hire Vincent because he is so liable to damage. One day, though, he hires someone to turn his identity into Eugene's, (Jude Law) an olympic-swimming, high potential winner who has everything you would need to get anywhere-except he comes back from a trip a paralyzed cripple from the waist down. So Vincent makes a deal with Eugene-Vincent gets Eugene's identity if Vincent pays the rent and gives him a companion. Everything works to plan, and Vincent borrows Eugene's fingerprints, blood samples, haircut, even urine samples. He even meets Irene (Uma Thurman) a sexy female worker at Gattaca who takes a shine to Vincent (who she thinks is Eugene). Until one day......

Gattaca is a great visual movie (it was nominated for the best art direction oscar but lost to Titanic), rides strong on very good performances by Ethan Hawke and Jude Law, and is definitely worth seeing.
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10/10
A mind enriching movie
Veritas6 March 1999
I first heard of this movie while in Europe where it was called `Welcome to Gattaca'. I was unable to view it at the movies there so rented it when I came to the US. I was very impressed with this movie and I might say that I was even surprised for the better. I was expecting it to be good, but it was even better than I thought.

I enjoy movies that require you to think or that have deeper meanings for those who look for them, and this movie was full of such hidden treasures. The script is very multileveled and will not disappoint anyone unless they are looking for Hollywood style sex and violence scenes.

Another great quality of this movie behind its thought provoking script is that it is very timeless. It could have been written for a century ago or for a couple centuries from now and it would still fit in with minor technological changes.

This film was really an excellent film whether you look at the cast, which was very well composed, or the cinematography, which was breathtaking. When the movie is finished the script leaves you thinking and your mind races on different tangents for a long while after the movie is over. There is no void or `why did I waste 2 hours sitting in front of a plastic box' at the end. If you like to think and like good acting do rent this movie, it will be well worth your time.
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10/10
Simply one of the most beautiful movies ever conceived!!!
froster61 December 2004
I will keep this short. This is most certainly one of the best films of all time. Script is wonderful, cinematography brilliant, Actors perform to a T, and the underlying message is one that all mankind should take to heart, for this great movie about human perseverance and will, and how real a situation in the world like this could be. 10 out of 10 bottom line. If you don't see this movie you will be committing a crime against yourself. Also the relationship between Vincent and Gerome and his brother is brought together perfectly and well developed. For that matter all of the characters in this film bring a little something different to the table that you will see very rarely in any film.
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10/10
One of my all-time favorite films
perfectbond17 December 2004
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.
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Absolutely Beautiful
sunnysani_888 December 2004
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.
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It's the little things that tell you you've found quality!
john in missouri12 October 2004
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!
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10/10
Should be in the top 250.
TheDentist20 November 2007
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.
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9/10
Speculative fiction at its finest ---- Excellent Film
akrenko2 November 1999
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,

John
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6/10
It's a bit cool and creepy, but slow and too self-conscious to really make a dent.
secondtake24 February 2010
Gattaca (1997)

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.
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10/10
Dystopia through genetics - philosophically powerful sci fi drama
mstomaso6 April 2005
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.
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10/10
Inspiring and moving. A flawless example of great film-making.
Scood6 December 2004
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 perfection.

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.
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8/10
We now have discrimination down to a science.
Spikeopath13 March 2013
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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9/10
Thought Provoking, Engrossing, And Fascinating Little Flick!
callanvass14 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
this is a fascinating, and engrossing little flick, that i throughly enjoyed!. The Performances are almost Oscar worthy in my opinion, and the it's always engrossing,and character driven, however it was a bit confusing at times, and i thought it ended a little abruptly, however i was engrossed all the way, and Ethan Hawke, and Uma Thurman are absolutely fantastic in this!. I loved the designs, and the film feels very polished, and stylish, plus i loved the scenes between Vincent and his brother Anton they were great. This is a great fascinating little flick, that i throughly enjoyed, and i can see why it's so popular, i highly suggest you see this, it's worth it. The Direction is great. Andrew Niccol does a great job here, with great, camera work, awesome designs, keeping the viewer thinking, and it had a polished and stylish feel it to it as well, plus he kept the film at an engrossing pace!. The Acting is almost Oscar Worthy!. Ethan Hawke, gives an almost Oscar Worthy performance here, he is extremely likable, had awesome chemistry with Uma Thurman, and Jude Law, is amazing in the acting department, and was just interesting all the time!. Jude Law is excellent here, he is a great actor, and i can see why the people rave about him!. Uma Thurman is STUNNINGLY GORGEOUS, and is fantastic here, she had awesome chemistry with Ethan, was interesting to watch, and her character, was nice and mysterious, i really like her. Loren Dean is good as Vincent's brother loved the swimming scenes. Overall this is a must see! **** out of 5
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9/10
Stands the test of time.
Tehmeh19 November 2013
I watched "Gattaca" earlier when it came out, but I was probably too young and/or drunk to appreciate it at the time. So I got the blu-ray and watched it again.

What a quality film this is. Nevermind that the budget wasn't big, everything is handled with care. Cinematography is top notch, the script is coherent and clever at the same time, the music is absolutely beautiful, actors do a fine job, the directing of Niccol keeps everything in check. I can't find significant flaws in this movie.

This is not what people usually expect from SciFi movies today. This is not an action film in space. "Gattaca" is a science fiction movie as much as it is a drama with a little detective story hidden inside. Almost nothing is "in your face", since this movie doesn't make a huge deal out of every meaningful scene. It's not trying to force you to feel or think anything, so the emotional reaction I got was only after the movie had ended. Only then it hit me, and it hit me hard. And the music (I have to compliment the score once again) played inside my head for quite some time.

The above is the main reason I appreciate this film a lot. Many will dislike it for the same reason. If you want something huge, something with immediate impact, something which is trying to impress you, there's a chance you won't love this movie. I too admit that I would've wanted the story to be more gripping and intense, but then again that certain subtlety is one of the strengths of this film. Nevertheless, I recommend "Gattaca" to everyone. When you're in a calm, ponderous or thoughtful state of mind, watch this.

Gattaca asks you important questions without forcing an ambiguous, open ending. Niccol wrote and directed a quality movie and he will be remembered for it. Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Jude Law, Xander Berkeley and Alan Arkin were convincing in their roles, and every actor did a fine job.

"Gattaca" is a thoughtful, humane story and a genuinely well-made film. It already survived the test of time this far, and it will continue to do so. Even if it seems a bit underwhelming, there's a lot of love in it.
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10/10
Perhaps the greatest sci-fi film of the 90's. Kubrick may have liked this one.
Bogey Man2 June 2002
Andrew Niccol began his feature film career as a director and writer with Gattaca (1997) which is very surprising science fiction(?) movie with all its feelings and important subject matters. Stuff like this unfortunately don't come too often from Hollywood, and I think that Gattaca too wasn't very successful at the box office, because stupid mainstream couldn't find anything interesting in it. Gattaca is set in the near future, where DNA technology has developed so hugely, that it is possible and advisable to manipulate the developing fetus and make it become as the parents and society wants. No fat guys, no diseases, no bald heads, nothing leaved for destiny. All manipulated and all persons to become the same.

This may not sound too interesting written like this but as a movie with the theme mentioned above, this is fantastic and has also a thriller elements in it, and thus the film is also extremely exciting in its suspense. The film studies what it is to be an individual. The strong element is that people should not tamper with God's work and Nature's creations, as the results are always the same: disappointment and destruction, because human beings should/must not do things they are not allowed to do and things that they don't know. Human being has feelings and emotions, and no one should not disturb them by making some changes physically to others. There is also that larger than life question that what waits us once we leave this world we live in. That is the point, because people who believe in God know also that there is no way we can tamper His work or try to change something we don't know or even understand. These things are very philosophic and the more the viewer likes to think and use brains, the more this little film unfolds. Everyone sees it in his/her own way, and they who don't see anything in it, don't understand cinema and have no ability to interpret it as an art form. Gattaca is eternal movie, and the answers the film asks we may get once we experience the same thing as Jerome/Eugene (Jude Law) experiences at the end..

This film shows what it is to be man and what it must no become. We are individuals, no one is exactly like some other (excluding nature's own creations like identical twins), and that is the rule of the Nature. If science makes all the people same and alike, what is the point to live in that kind of world? There are so many others and they are like you/me, so let them live and go on by the rules of "life." It is no use to do this since some other may do it. Those who think that person can be manipulated and to become as wanted/required, don't understand that no one can manipulate the complex and personal brains in which the real personality lives. Or does someone believe that science can create many ultra wise soon-to-become presidents or persons who will make many important inventions in the future? I think that science is able to remove something from brains/personality but not ADD something there.

Gattaca is very wise and contemplative film and deals with important themes of personality, privacy, happiness (of being a human and having a personality), friendship and living (in our world and after it). Gattaca is also incredibly effective piece of cinema and very beautiful piece of art as Michael Nyman'n music is again gorgeous and photography totally stunning. The colors and over all use of camera is among the greatest I've ever seen. The colors are close to Dario Argento (although Gattaca and Argento's work are very different!) and this is a film, I think Stanley Kubrick would have liked: very intelligent and provoking and cinematically stunning at the same time. Like 2001: A Space Odyssey in other words.

The actors are also great and give their finest. Uma Thurman is so sensual and talented in her role, Jude Law is fantastic as unhappy person who doesn't think he fits in the society he is born to. Ethan Hawke plays the lead part as Jerome/Vincent, who is born "in-valid" as he has not been manipulated to "perfection" before birth, unlike his brother. The actors are fantastic and do nothing wrong. We can feel exactly the same feelings the characters do and that is a sign of their talent.

Gattaca is the kind of film that after the first viewing the viewer may have the feeling that it has to be seen immediately again. And that was the case with me: I viewed this immediately again after I'd watched it for the first time. And this magic will last for several viewing times and the film will unfold more and more. It would have been fantastic to see this on big screen, but it worked on television, too.

10 stars out of ten for this unique and brilliant masterpiece, and hopefully the director can continue his personal line, and avoid commercial productions at any cost. As highly recommended as possible, but only for the fans of intelligent cinema.
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10/10
Best Movie that was forgotten...
swaggaz3 November 2004
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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9/10
Sci Fi As It Should Be
morphion27 January 2006
'Gattaca', the 1997 sci-fi film, has definitely done its part in adding to the culture of cult films around the world. Whether it's the disturbingly familiar future-society that the film depicts, the ethical and moral nightmare scenarios that it entails, or something subliminally appealing, this piece of film found its audience and cemented its place in history.

In the 'not-too-distant future', the world of genetics has expanded to previously unimaginable proportions, wherein a person's entire life story can be told with just a drop of blood or a strand of hair. In this post-genetics world, science has perfected the art of life; children are no longer born biologically, but rather their parents give their sperm and eggs to laboratories and they deliver the best child that can be produced from these genes. Children who were not conceived this way are referred to as "in-valids" and society deems them accordingly. It's a whole new type of discrimination, but one that Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke) is not willing to accept.

Vincent is an in-valid who has always had the dream of going into space. Refusing to accept his pre-determined life, Vincent consequently adopts the identity of another man whose genes make him 'valid'. Jerome Morrow (Jude Law) agrees to let Vincent have his identity if he will provide Jerome with a place to live. Using samples from Jerome's body disguised as his own (blood, urine, hair), Vincent becomes employed in the Gattaca Aerospace Corporation as Jerome Morrow and after many years in the job, he is finally given the opportunity to go up into space on one of Gattaca's frequent launches.

When the director of the Gattaca Aerospace Corporation is murdered, however, investigations into the crime put into question Vincent's true identity, and he soon finds that his long deception could be unraveled and his life-long dream could be shot down in flames. With only fellow colleague Irene (Uma Thurman) and Jerome on his side, Vincent must race against the powers that are trying to put him back into the social hole he was supposedly born into and put an end to the life he has worked so hard to build.

The film has a very sorrowful approach to what sounds initially like a very lame plot. It's cinematic and stylistic without being pretentious or overdone, and the way it is shot and put together reflects very well the film's bland and sterilized society in pursuit of perfection. The chilling sense of realism that goes with the world of Gattaca makes everything within it become more than just a strange concept in a science fiction film. Not unlike Spielberg's 'A.I.', Gattaca very cleverly draws from horrors within our society today to suggest the terrifying prospect that our science will eventually render us, as a natural species, obsolete.

Director Andrew Niccol has done a fine job in transforming this sci-fi flick into something much deeper and more interesting. The writing is not spectacular, but is still better than most. Hawke's narration provides very good atmosphere for the film as he talks about the way of the world in this eerie future and the film's theme is very secure, with events such as the murder being practically irrelevant. The thing that matters most is Vincent's dream and the social inequalities that prevent him from actualizing it, and this is made very clear from beginning to end.

The acting performances are all very adequate, but the stand-out ones are Ethan Hawke and Jude Law, who seem so comfortable in their characters and, truth be told, share more chemistry than Hawke and Thurman do. This was one of Jude Law's first feature films, and it is a remarkably impressive debut.

Basically, this is a film that says what it means. Even in a world that has successfully bred perfection, people still suffer, the system is still unjust and lives still go to waste. Far from just being an unrealistic portrayal of what the future will hold, 'Gattaca' questions the ideals of mankind, the principles of civilization and leaves us to wonder what we, as a society are truly striving for.
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9/10
Timeless and poetic exploration of issues of identity.
Alex-Tsander4 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This movie does a number of ingenious and remarkable things : 1. It makes the extraordinary ( space exploration ) seem completely routine in a way not accomplished since 2001 A Space Odyssey. But in total contrast to the latter, instead of achieving this effect through the vivid portrayal of technology with engineering exactitude, it does it by showing almost no technology whatsoever. Rather scenes of the completely anodyne. The "astronauts" wear business suits and work in an office.

2. It creates a sense of timelessness by using almost featureless sets reminiscent of a classical play and paraphernalia re-cycled from other times ( such as the cars and the back-projection displays ). The feel of the film is in a very positive way reminiscent of Alphaville.

3. It employs completely impractical technical devices in such an effective theatrical way as to render their impracticality irrelevant. For example, it is possible to identify someone by a genetic "fingerprint" generated from a hair follicle ( but not in itself a hair ) or skin, but such traces would not facilitate a break-down of the persons genetic character, as pretended here. These are two different orders of measurement. Indeed, urine, which features centrally in the plot, is of no use on either account, not being a body tissue in any case. Only the blood tests would facilitate both identification and genetic analysis as shown in the story. Yet, in spite of knowing these things, the use of such devices as a plucked hair in the story is made so poetically as to become effectively a perfect metaphor and so beyond criticism on grounds of mere realism. To me, this seems almost unique. To do the wrong, obviously, yet aptly.

4. The plot is so contrived as to convene three parallel stories into convergence: Vincents story, of course. But also the directors story, which is oddly similar ( his life's ambition in the flight of the mission can only be fulfilled by killing the man who would have axed it ). As is that of the son of the biologist mentioned at the end.

5. The movie actually achieves what most dramatic art strives for but fails to do: the story resonates far beyond the limited scope of the dramatic enactment. Vincents dream and the challenges posed by society's prejudices is a story that is eternal and universal. As are other issues brought up: sibling rivalry, the "straight" way to a mediocre life as against the "crooked" yet heroic path toward a greater truth. Most profound is the way in which the paralysed Jerome actually becomes an immortal, historical space-farer Vincent, destroying his mortal self to do so, leaving as his legacy the realisations by the other man of his dreams. This is both incredibly ingenious and thought provoking, creating a mood that lingers long after the credits roll. I doubt that vicariousness has ever before been made so realistic a possibility.

The atmosphere, mood and languid tempo yet with a sense of inevitability is greatly aided by Michael Nyman's score.

This is one of the very few movies in which a narrator is entirely apt and not a mere convenience.
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Comment on Gattaca
tine413827 June 2005
I think Gattaca is one of the best movies about genetic engineering I've ever seen! It's a very emotional and dramatical film. The actors play their roles very well, so that you can identify with them closely. Because of this point it becomes clear that this is not only a science fiction movie but that it could be our future. The quality of the film is not described in big action scenes or special effects but in philosophical questions of our society. It shows that the discrimination of inferiors is a big role in our society. It make the viewer think about the perfection and the individuality of the humans. At the end you can say that this movie is more than a typical action film because it has a critical meaning in view of our society!
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5/10
Gattaca tries to label itself as an intellectual film but can't stand up to scrutiny
tom_oldani11 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Gattaca was not average by any means. I feel I must rate it a five though, not for being mediocre, but for being excellent in some areas and utter tripe in others. The premise of this movie is an interesting one: that genetic engineering will produce a ruling class of post-human elitists. However, this film is simply too unbelievable to effectively make any sort of point.

Vincent, played by Ethan Hawke, is a child conceived naturally during a time where that sort of conception is considered passé. Unfortunately for him, all the good jobs require a genetic screening to weed out less-than-perfect candidates, and his dream of becoming an astronaut is made extraordinarily difficult due to his bad genes. In fact, he actually has to hire Jude Law, who has really good genes, to allow him to take blood and tissue samples so he can pretend to have good genes too.

Throughout this movie there are many, many times where the plot was simply too unbelievable to allow me to enjoy this movie. First of all, the sheer number of DNA tests that people in this movie were subjected to was simply over the top. Employees of the center where Vincent worked had to have their fingers pricked constantly. For an agency that's looking to attract the best and the brightest, I can't think of a better way to drive them away. I give blood to the Red Cross every four months, and that finger prick they make everyone endure still drives me crazy. Many nurses have told me that it's the same with just about everyone. In the end, this all turns out to be rather useless for their purposes, as Vincent gets around the DNA tests and the infernal finger-pricking with latex pouches of Jude Law's blood glued onto his fingertips.

Of course that's just a detail, but nevertheless it's a detail that stood out to me. More important is the fact that Vincent doesn't show any signs of being a genetic cripple, save for his thick glasses. Judging by the list of his disorders they rattled off at the beginning, he is not, as you might suspect, a retarded obese midget, but reasonably good-looking, extremely motivated, and very intelligent. One of the points this movie seems to be trying to make is that your genes don't really affect who you are, but clearly they do.

There are some more ridiculous scenes. Vincent claims that despite the genetically determined prediction that he would die young due to coronary problems, his "heart is a thousand beats overdue." Just for kicks I figured out how long it'd take for a heart to beat one thousand times, and it's about 15 minutes. If that were all, I wouldn't be so optimistic. Then there were the spaceships, manned by a staff with impeccably gelled hair wearing suits and ties. Then there was the assumption that Jude Law's character was a failure, despite winning only a silver medal in the Olympics. Considering the sheer number of genetically perfect athletes, I'd say second place is pretty good. Then there were the showers that cleaned themselves with flamethrowers, yet had no safety features to prevent the inevitable.

I could keep listing things, like the way all the DNA tests seemed to be designed so that a determined person could barely beat them, but that would be pointless. It all serves to show that despite this film being an obvious work of science fiction, the science was usually obscured by art and marketability. That's not to say Gattaca isn't worth seeing; it certainly is. It was done very artistically, and there are many things to be appreciated here including the excellent performances by the cast.

Most people agree that there are two types of science fiction: that set in its own universe and that set in ours. Gattaca was clearly meant to be in the latter group. However, a science fiction story set in our universe must abide by the same laws as we do, which is something that this movie did not do. If this were its only fault, I would have rated this film higher, but alas, it was not.
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Intelligent & moving
bob the moo21 December 2001
In the not too distant future, genetic engineering is the most common form of childbirth. Those born naturally in an uncontrolled fashion form a social underclass. One of the underclass Vincent, dreams of working within Gattaca and making it into space. He combines with Jerome who was disabled in an accident to take his identity and live his live. Vincent takes his idenity and daily eradicates all proof of his own genetic makeup. However a murder within Gattaca reveals the presence of an invalid and the police begin their search for Vincent.

This is a very intelligent look into the future where racism etc has been replaced by a bias formed around one's genetic makeup. This builds a two-tier story around Vincent trying to pass off as a valid and around the murder investigation of the space programme's director. However to say that this story is just that is to ignore the layers of humanity that are looked at in the film. The real Jerome shows how elitist the valids are and how they look down on those below, but he also shows how they are only human and have the same feelings, fears etc. Vincent is the character we associate with - being excluded from society because of his genes, he is the vision of persistence that we all want to be. We see his father design a second son with his own name and the background he experiences. We also signs of humanity all round and it is as much a look at present day racism etc as it is a futuristic sci-fi. The story around the murder investigation concludes with several twists that tie the two strands together - this takes the story of Vincent to another level and it is quite moving to watch.

Ethan Hawk is really good here, as is Jude Law. I found Uma Thurman a bit cold to watch and she was without much character but I assume that this was how she was meant to be . Alan Arkin is excellent as the (I assume) natural born detective who has to call a much younger man Sir because of his genes. The supporting cast is well filled out with strong actors including Elias Koteas, Gore Vidal, Ernest Bourgine and, er, Blair Underwood.

Overall a moving intelligent sci-fi that is clever throughout. How many modern films can you say that about?
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5/10
Stylish Sci-fi thriller whose true horror seems to be lost on most people
wadeboi18 May 2006
I was intrigued by the cult popularity of this film and the fact that so many people seem to think this is one of the best films ever made. Frankly, I struggled to sit through the whole thing and I had to fast-forward through the ponderous stair-climbing scene.

"Gattaca" is reminiscent of 60s sci-fi horror films with its sterile atmosphere and melancholy characters. It's hard to relate to people with absolutely no joy in their lives. Ironically, in watching the first act of the film a second time, I thought the central character seemed happier in his life as an "in-valid."

Our hero's quest seems a bit far-fetched for the price he has to pay and, for the audience, the outcome seems like a foregone conclusion; lacking the impact of a twist ending in comparable films like the original "Plant of the Apes" or even "Soylent Green."

The subtext of sci-fi horror elements, such as invasive background checks and medical testing by employers as well as discrimination based on genetic attributes don't seem all that horrific because, sadly, they have been widely accepted business practices for some time.

I'm amazed to see so many reviewers comment on the "revelation" that in the future employers will discriminate on genetic perfection rather than traditional prejudices such as race, sex, etc. Numerous studies have confirmed that "good looking" people have better jobs and earn more. Men who are less than 6' tall earn more than shorter men, for example. Employers are often impressed with dubious measures of intelligence like college degrees, grades or standardized test scores.

I was also struck by the obvious incongruity of a world where both physical and mental perfection are prized, yet the demands of the career seem to require neither. How much physical perfection is required to sit at a computer keyboard? The work itself is obviously a white collar clerical job with the computer doing the serious mental work. We know it's clerical work because the filmmaker shows him in a cliché clerical setting: sea of cubicles with employees working like disposable, interchangeable parts in a large machine. A future where the best and brightest have only mindless bookkeeping tasks to challenge them is the real horror in "Gattaca."
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