- 1 hr 46 min
Gattaca is a science-fiction movie from 1997, directed by Andrew Niccol, that takes place in a not too distant future where genetic manipulation and engineering have become an everyday reality. The film tells the story of Vincent Freeman, played by Ethan Hawke, a man born the old-fashioned way, without genetic manipulation, in a society where the genetically modified individuals are the norm. Due to his inferior genetics, Vincent faces discrimination, bordering on outright segregation, and struggles to achieve his dream of traveling to the stars.
Under these conditions, Vincent turns to the Gattaca Corporation, a company dedicated to space exploration, in order to fulfill his ambition. Although Vincent's genetics rule him out from working in the company, his forged identity and his courage allow him to secure a job cleaning in the labs of the company. However, he soon finds himself out of his depth when he is assigned to work alongside the company's top geneticist, Jerome Eugene Morrow, played by Jude Law, who is a genetically modified 'valid'.
Jerome has been crippled due to an accident and no longer possesses the physical capabilities to work in Gattaca Corporation, despite his impeccable genetic profile. In desperation and a mutual agreement, Jerome decided to sell his identity to Vincent in exchange for a place to live and he provides him with hair, blood, and skin samples to pass the mandatory genetic tests. The company's hierarchy never considers that Vincent is an imposter, allowing him to infiltrate the very ranks of the genetically superior individuals he has longed to be a part of all his life. In an ironic twist of fate, Vincent, who may not have been deemed impressive enough to be part of Gattaca Corporation, becomes more geneticistically superior than all the 'valids' in the company.
The plot takes the audience to a thrilling journey when Vincent's task becomes increasingly dangerous with the detective Hugo, played by Alan Arkin, following a lead of an active criminal offensive. At the same time, Vincent is falling in love with the company's research scientist, Irene Cassini, played by Uma Thurman, who like Vincent, also poses physical limitations due to the same genetic condition.
On his way to achieving his dream, Vincent not only faces the inherent risk of being caught for his identity fraud but also comes to terms with ethical dilemmas regarding genetic engineering and its uses. The movie explores the dangers of genetic engineering and the society that discriminates based on genetic make-up. The viewers get a glimpse of what the world would look like if people were genetically engineered to create ideal individuals, where those who are not genetically superior are discriminated against, and the prevailing themes of the importance of human will and the dangers of an overly deterministic society.
Gattaca is an extremely well-crafted movie with superior acting performances by Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, and Jude Law. The sets, costumes, music and overall ambiance of the movie also add to its near perfect execution. The movie excels in asking essential questions such as the value of human life, human dignity, and the higher pursuit of personal success. The storyline seamlessly integrates science-fiction elements with provocative social commentary, producing a compelling narrative that is both enjoyable and thought-provoking. The film encompasses a range of emotions, sparking a range of conversations and reflection from the viewers.
Gattaca is a must-watch for anyone interested in science-fiction, but more importantly, for anyone that has questioned where ethical tipping points lie for science and technology, and the societal impact of their implementation.
Gattaca is a 1997 thriller with a runtime of 1 hour and 46 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.7 and a MetaScore of 64.