Movie Review: Gattaca (1997)

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman and Jude Law

Directed by: Andrew Niccol

In the not too distant future an imperfect man has been born within a perfect world where genetics can be altered to create the perfect specimen. Vincent is one of the last babies to be born naturally and is born with a heart defect with a short life expectancy but with dreams of travelling to the stars he assumes the identity of a superior being in order to achieve his lifelong dream of space travel.

Over the course of the last year or so I’ve watched a bunch of sci-fi movies that are critically acclaimed and many of them have failed to hit the mark and live up to their billing for me. Movies such as Blade Runner, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Dune and Solaris (2002) have all come highly recommended from so many and have all failed to live up to expectations. So, upon watching Gattaca, another movie which is highly regarded by so many, I was both excited and apprehensive.

Ethan Hawke stars as Vincent, somebody who was birthed the old fashioned way and was one of the last babies to be brought into this world naturally. He is diagnosed as myopic with just over 30 years to live but he is somebody who refuses to allow his conditions hold him back as he dreams of space travel. He wants to progress further in life than a cleaner at Gattaca Corp. so he makes arrangements to assume the identity of Jerome Morrow (Jude Law), a genetically superior being in every way so he can begin the journey of a lifetime. With precise timing and planning both Vincent and Jerome have to make sure they make no mistakes in order to allow Vincent a fair shot at his dream which was otherwise not an option for him.

Both Ethan Hawke and Jude Law are incredible in this Sci-Fi drama which has a great story and message to never allow anybody tell you that you cannot achieve your dream. The movie as a whole is well constructed and extremely well written by Andrew Niccol, which this was the first feature film he is accredited to writing and what an unbelievable way to start your career. He has since gone on to write The Truman Show and Lord of War which are equally as good as this movie but Gattaca is a great way to announce your arrival in Hollywood. As well as the two male leads, Uma Thurmans supports as Vincent’s love interest and while she only takes a prominent role towards the last section of the movie she puts in a solid performance too. The set design and cinematography are both stunning and even got recognition from the Academy with an Oscar nomination for best art direction-set decoration which Gattaca was unlucky not receive more nominations although that years award ceremony was bossed by Titanic.

Gattaca explores a frightening possibility where in the future you’ll be able to control the genes that are passed on to your children which eliminates all defects and pretty much makes an underdog story non-existent. In theory a world without any defect seems to be the ideal world but in reality there’s no gene for the human spirit.

In conclusion, Gattaca prevailed and was every bit as good as I had heard. While it does start off a little slow it develops into a great story with super performances on display, definitely worth a watch, you’ll not be disappointed.


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