Though it was a box-office flop and forgotten at almost every awards show, "Gattaca" has become one of the most truly celebrated films of the late 90s. Heralded as one of the most underrated science fiction movies, the story "Gattaca" tells is engaging and emotional,
The film is about two brothers, two friends, two lovers, but one man. "Gattaca" is set in the not too distant future where everything you need to survive is in your genes. At the moment of birth, scientists will be able to predict when you will die and what diseases you might suffer from. From these predictions and percentages, you must build your life.
If you were born like Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke), you might have a hard time breaking out from your mold.
Vincent was conceived naturally—or unnaturally, as the people in the film see it. He's a "God's child"...in the Biblical sense, his parents knew each other to form him.
When he's born, he is told that he has a very high chance of heart disease and is thus, denied his father's name. The Freemans decide to have another child and they conceive this one "the right way".
Essentially all the children are test tube babies with a low calculated risk of contracting diseases.
Thus Vincent's brother, Anton is born. Anton is the perfect child and why shouldn't he be? He was born that way after all. Yet the desire to do something is too much for Vincent and after saving his brother's life, he heads out to make it in the world.
But the world is cruel to people like him, people of risk. Why would you hire someone that only has thirty predicted years to live? He could keel over at any second and you'd be out one more worker.
The film tells us that it's another form of discrimination.
Vincent becomes a janitor and this takes him to Gattaca, which is basically NASA of the future. It's here that he finds himself closest and farthest from his dream—to travel in space.
But a stoke of luck occurs.
A man named Jerome Morrow becomes involved and then identities are stolen, swapped and faked.
"Gattaca" comes from visionary director Andrew Niccol and I would argue that it's his best work...when you consider that he later made the hated "In Time" and had a hand in bringing The Host to screen, it's safe to say that the early years of his career were the best.
Consider also that this is the man who wrote "The Truman Show"...genius knows no bounds.
Although much of the film is consumed with the actions of Vincent as he tries to keep his head above water, "Gattaca" is much more about his character than his actions.
A murder investigation embroils the workers of "Gattaca"...how can you escape the authorities when you're leaving your DNA everywhere.
A stray hair, fingernails, skin cells, saliva...it's everywhere.
Though the film is no stunning achievement in writing or directing, "Gattaca" finds a way to be so personal that you forgive its infractions.
It's amazing how unloved this film was at the time of its release. The cast is sensational—Ethan Hawke, Jude Law, Uma Thurman, Tony Shaloub, Gore Vidal, and Alan Arkin—and they all give endearing performances.
It's a very memorable movie, and not just for how it looks. The sets are incredible, the music is moving, the acting is spot-on, the story is original, and the movie itself is compelling.
What more do you want?
Score: 4 out of 4 stars