not-too-distant future, genetics will play a tremendous role in the lives
of the Earth's population.
Parents will be able to choose virtually
every aspect of their child's genetic makeup from the best possible samples
of their own DNA. Any imperfection, such as bad eyesight, heart disease
or even premature balding, is viewed with distain. Because technology
has made these things obsolete, they are the marks of a "de-GENE-erate."
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, and
Vincent (Ethan Hawke) is the child of parents who made a choice to not
select the best of each possible trait. They left some of his genetic
makeup to chance, like in the old days. As a result, he has a life expectancy
of 30 years due to a weak heart. His younger brother, who is given the
selective genetic advantage, is guaranteed by DNA alone to have a more
successful life. Vincent can acheive no better than a job as a janitor
at a training ground for potential astronauts and space explorers known
Vincent, however, isn't about to let the fact that he's not gifted with
the right genetic makeup interfere with his desire to be a space explorer.
By working out and studying relentlessly, the time comes for him to infiltrate
Gattaca as one of the privilged rather than as a janitor. By using an
underground operative who can supply the needed DNA, skin, urine and hair
samples to allow him to access the inner workings of Gattaca, Vincent
begins a working relationship with Jerome (Jude Law), a former swimmer
who's been injured in an accident and now deemed inferior. By supplying
Vincent with the needed DNA information, Jerome can win a victory against
the society who feels his injury is reason enough to shun him. Vincent,
in essence, becomes Jerome and begins his quest to fool Gattaca long enough
to reach his goal of space travel.
Gattaca was written and directed
by Andrew Niccol, who is reponsible for the script for this past summer's
The Truman Show. Niccol creates
a slightly unbelievable, but still engaging, world of paranoia, suspicion
and retro-looking technology. The look of the film is striking, without
ever looking like your standard "sci-fi future world."
The film's performances are worth mentioning as the bulk of the film
is made up of character interaction. Jude Law's turn as Jerome is particularly
good. He made for a stronger visual presence than did Ethan Hawke, but
Hawke was not a slouch in his role either. Uma Thurman, as another potential
candidate for the space launch, is effective in her role. She provides
the only real female role in the film.
Also worth mentioning is the film's soundtrack, which I found particularly
haunting. I don't find myself bitten by the urge to hunt down the soundtrack
CD for movies all that often, but I was making a mental note to do so
while watching this film.
One thing I found refreshing about Gattaca is that, while predominantly
a science fiction film, it was not overloaded with special effects or
glitzy action scenes. It is more concerned with making believable characters
live and breath in a less-than-believable world. For that, Gattaca is
worth high praise.
name "Gattaca" can be composed entirely of the letters used
to label the four components of DNA. (Source: The
Internet Movie Database)