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Gattaca (1997)

Science Fiction & Fantasy movie directed by Andrew Niccol

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Nature vs nurture, and the worth of a man

  • Oct 2, 2006
  • by
Many people spend their lives searching for their place in life, and many movies are made that deal with this theme; examples include "The Majestic", "As Good as it Gets", "Lost in Translation" and "X-Men". But what about the exact opposite, what about those who know for certain their place in life and are not happy with it? This is the central underlying theme in this movie. It is the future, and mankind has progressed to the point where genetic engineering of newborns is a common practice. Some kids are born naturally without any genetic improvements, and have set limits and expectations for their life. These are known as "invalids". Others are born with genetic improvements, and they are born into a different life with different limits and expectations; usually higher. These are "valids". This movie is about both individuals, brothers really. One is a Valid and rises high within the ranks of Gattaca, a futuristic corporation that sends people to space. The other is an "Invalid, and being unhappy with his fate, uses his wit and the friendship of a thoughtful Valid to rise even higher. Their fates intertwine at the very end in a triumph of the human spirit over predisposed social constraints. The movie moves briskly but not too quickly. The dialogue is quite sharp and natural. The personal relationships are well-thought out. And Jude Law is probably in his best role as an actor. All told, a great movie and worth the time to watch. Premiering in the mid 1990's, it touches on many of the themes now surfacing in the era of biotech and genetic engineering.

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review by . December 19, 2002
posted in Movie Hype
Granted, Gattaca certainly tries to be all things to all people - it sells itself variously as a Philip K. Dick-esque sci-fi, as a Tense Political Thriller, an Edgy Romance, even as a Rumination on Filial Love and Obligation - but in my book it fails badly on every count. I am clearly in the minority on this, so I had better explain.From the opening sequence, something is clearly amiss: I mean, extreme close-ups of exfoliated skin and toenail clippings, anyone? Thereafter, things do not improve. …
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Newton Ooi ()
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Hi everyone, so here is the rundown of me. I like reading and writing, nonfiction for both. I love movies, especially original ones. I like nonfiction music, eating out, and basketball. I love to travel, … more
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About this movie


Confidently conceived and brilliantly executed,Gattacahad a somewhat low profile release in 1997, but audiences and critics hailed the film's originality. It's since been recognized 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 vehicleThe 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,Gattacaestablishes 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,Gattacais 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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Director: Andrew Niccol
Screen Writer: Andrew Niccol
DVD Release Date: July 1, 1998
Runtime: 106 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures
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