Starring: Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman
Contents: Minor gory scene
Summary: Ethan Hawke plays Vincent, a young man who dreams of space
travel. However, in this somewhat dystopia-like future, everyone is judged not by skin
color or background, but by the content of their genes. Vincent has a congenital heart
defect, which prevents his enrollment in the space program. So instead, he turns to using
the genes of a crippled (but gene-enhanced) man named Jerome, assuming his identity and
using it to attain his dream.
This film is much more cerebral than your average science fiction movie. It explores
themes that have been a staple to science fiction literature for some time: is a man
simply the product of his genetic inheritance? Can he make himself more than that? The
film answers these questions as "no" and "yes".
A week before Vincent/Jerome is due to blast off, a murder takes place in his office at
Gattaca, Inc. (presumably named for the four amino acids that make up DNA: Adenine,
Guanine, Cytosine and Thymine). Ethan Hawke's panic at his potential last-minute discovery
is interesting to watch. Ethan played Todd of the starring roles in "Dead Poet
Society", and I think this is the best film he has been in since then.
One problem with the film is that it tends to drag on a little too long at times: it
would be easy to get bored if you did not find an interest in the characters. I also found
myself wanting to see more of the space program in the time: we see several rocket
launches over the film, but nothing of the destination. I think my imagination must be
atrophying after seeing too many special-effects blockbusters like "Independence
Day" or "Men in Black".
Vincents character is much enhanced as he begins to see what he has to lose, as well as
what he has to gain by escaping Earth. His desire to leave is clearly founded in the
prejudices that this society has against the "Godchildren" (those born
naturally), versus those born through genetic enhancement. But as he develops a
relationship with Irene (Uma Thurman), and considers the friendship that has grown up with
his double, the real Jerome (crippled out of the country in an automobile accident; as the
movie says "there is no gene for luck"), he realizes towards the end that he has
a lot to lose as well.
More slow-going and thoughtful than most SF films, not everyone will enjoy
this film: but I did.
Further Info (IMD)