Gattaca [DVD] 
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Vincent (Ethan Hawke) dreams of becoming a space pilot, but in the world in which he lives only those people with prime genetic material can attain the top jobs. Determined to succeed, he makes a deal with the genetically-perfect Jerome (Jude Law) which will provide him with fresh daily samples of Jerome's urine, skin and hair, thus allowing him to fake his identity and find a place on the space program. The plan starts off working perfectly, but when one of the company's directors is murdered and Vincent becomes the main suspect, it can only be a matter of time before his secret is revealed.
Confidently conceived and brilliantly executed, Gattaca had a somewhat low profile release in 1997, but audiences and critics hailed the film's originality. It's since been recognised as one of the most intelligent science fiction films of the 1990s. Writer-director Andrew Niccol, the talented New Zealander who also wrote the acclaimed Jim Carrey vehicle The Truman Show, depicts a near-future society in which one's personal and professional destiny is determined by one's genes. In this society, "Valids" (genetically engineered) qualify for positions at prestigious corporations, such as Gattaca, which grooms its most qualified employees for space exploration. "In-Valids" (naturally born), such as the film's protagonist, Vincent (Ethan Hawke), are deemed genetically flawed and subsequently fated to low-level occupations in a genetically caste society. With the help of a disabled "Valid" (Jude Law), Vincent subverts his society's social and biological barriers to pursue his dream of space travel; any random mistake--and an ongoing murder investigation at Gattaca--could reveal his plot. Part thriller, part futuristic drama and cautionary tale, Gattaca establishes its social structure so convincingly that the entire scenario is chillingly believable. With Uma Thurman as the woman who loves Vincent and identifies with his struggle, Gattaca is both stylish and smart, while Jude Law's performance lends the film a note of tragic and heartfelt humanity.--Jeff Shannon
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Top Customer Reviews
This is raised to an inspired level by writer/director Andrew Niccol's decision to film it as if all the flashbacks had taken place in our own past. In written SF, this could only have been achieved by a complicated alternate reality setting. But, in cinema, Niccol's careful choice of fifties clothing styles, haircuts, and black-and-white family snap-shots powerfully evokes a past for the protagonist, Vincent (Ethan Hawke), which mirrors our own past.
I had expected this film to be bleak and oppressive. The premise, and the first half-hour, create an air-tight world where Vincent is condemned to second-class servitude because his conception was natural rather than genetically screened.
But Niccol skilfully switches the 1984 style bleakness into an ultra-tech murder-thriller, with the murder of the mission-director, moments (in film time) after we learn of the meticulous plan by which Vincent will pass as genetically perfect and achieve his dream of space-travel.
Suspense builds from this point on. On the first time of watching I was convinced Vincent would be caught, right up to the final moment.
The core of this film is in Vincent's words: "There is no gene for fate", although the official tag-line was "There is no gene for the human spirit". It becomes an enormously positive affirmation that sheer guts and determination will take anyone to reach their dream.
This is an excellent film, but it will not please everyone. It is essentially a short-story created in perfect detail for cinema. SF fans will appreciate the purity of the vision.Read more ›
I've read a review that focuses on fingernail clippings and criticises the special effects which has spurred me to defend this film.
Yes, in the opening credits we see closeups of finger nail clippings falling to the floor, but they are almost beautiful set against the light blue background. However, I don't know many people that are only interested in the opening credits.
So, if you think science fiction is only about special effects, go watch a big budget, badly acted, 'run of the mill', 'Sci-Fi' film. If you want to watch a modern classic of the science fiction genre watch Gattaca.
The visuals in this film are amazing. The cyber-punk world, that we are presented with, features a beautiful mix of many different periods of the last century. Everything is sleek and smooth. This film is science fiction for the young professional.
When I buy a DVD and there are deleted scenes on it, I always think to myself that one or two of them should have been left in. However watching Gattaca's 'Lost Scenes' I realized just how much this film had been crafted. None of these sequences deserved being placed into the film. This film really is a work of art. Everything is just right.
Forget about the science fiction for a moment though. This film is inspiring. The cover states "There is no gene for the human spirit". This film tells us that we can do anything. Nothing is set in stone, we can control our own fate.
When I'm depressed I watch this film, it motivates me, like no other.
The only real shock was that Danny DeVito was a producer on this film. My opinion of him has altered post-Gattaca.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fantastic futuristic film. Really good thriller, great performances from an all-star cast.Published 1 month ago by Jack a Roe
Saw this on TV. Reason I got it.
A futuristic view of how life could evolve, dominated by a menacing government. Not quite 1984, but worrying all the same. Read more
Mentally enervating, plodding and increasingly claustrophobic (in the wrong sense) tedious to watch movie. Read morePublished 6 months ago by david
This clever Sci-Fi Film talks of a world where Pure Humans become Second class Cititzen to New Genetically Enhanced Beings. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Mrs. D. Moncrieff