The Stainless Steel Rat (stainsteelrat) wrote,
The Stainless Steel Rat

Retro Film Review: Gattaca (1997)

Gattaca (1997). Written and directed by Andrew Niccol. Set an unknown time in the future, humanity has become obsessed with both DNA and eugenics. Before most children are born the embryos are screened and altered to be the best they can. When children are born their DNA is immediately checked to assess their competence and likely lifespan, essentially predicting their future career. Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke) is conceived naturally by his parents, without the help of eugenics, but much to their upset he is deemed to have numerous genetic defects, and is branded an "invalid". Vincent's brother, Anton, is conceived with eugenics and initially surpasses him in every way. It is only as young adults that Vincent finally beats his brother, and ends up saving his life when they compete against each other in a swimming race. Through this victory Vincent understands that his genetic heritage does not define him, and he begins to dream of being accepted into the famed academy that trains people for space flight, Gattaca. I was fortunate to watch Gattaca when it was first released at the cinema, and I was spellbound from start to finish. The idea of a humanity defined by genetic results feels like a very real extension of what we are seeing now, and that underlying story to Gattaca is a powerful one, particularly when coupled with the sheer determination of the human spirit. The cast of Gattaca, which along with Hawke include Jude Law and Uma Thurman, are all at their understated best. Niccol's direction is superb, and the film moves along perfectly, oozing style and atmosphere the whole time. Underpinning the visual excellence is a gorgeous classical soundtrack by Michael Nyman. For fans of intelligent science fiction Gattaca is a must watch, and a splendid and original entry in the genre. 5/5 (Excellent)
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