• James Rutherford

'Gattaca': An Arresting Futuristic Exploration of Scientific Advancement, Identity and Ethics


Movie poster for Gattaca (1997)

Gattaca (1997) is an arresting science-fiction film starring Ethan Hawke as Vincent, a genetically inferior laborer with dreams of space exploration. Classified as an "In-Valid" due to his natural childbirth, Vincent lacks the superiority of "Valid" citizens whose biometrics qualify them for professional careers.


Dispiritedly cleaning office buildings, Vincent hatches a plan to impersonate a Valid in order to gain access to spaceflight conglomerate Gattaca Aerospace Corporation. With dreams of participating in their upcoming mission to Titan, Vincent masquerades himself using, skin, hair, blood and urine samples from a paraplegic Valid named Jerome Eugene Morrow (Jude Law). His successful breach of Gattaca's security brings him into contact with alluring co-worker Irene Cassini (Uma Thurman), health administrator Dr. Lamar (Xander Berkeley) and his own brother Anton (Loren Dean)—a police detective investigating the murder of a Gattaca employee.


Written and directed by New Zealand filmmaker Andrew Niccol (The Truman Show, Lord of War), Gattaca is a high-touch exploration of the human side of scientific advancement. Niccol's depiction of new-era eugenics and genetic discrimination serve as an eye-opening harbinger of things to come—all the more relevant 25 years after it's original release. Working with Polish cinematographer Sławomir Idziak, he has crafted a visionary tale of aspiration and personal reckoning— unique, provocative and starkly resonant.

 

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