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Gattaca 1997 Movie Review

Essay by   •  May 17, 2011  •  Book/Movie Report  •  2,969 Words (12 Pages)  •  2,026 Views

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In 1997, a science fiction picture was released that showed a dystopian vision of the not so distant future where science ruled. This movie is called Gattaca, the film was directed by Andrew Niccol and it starred Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman and Jude Law. The film presents a future in which the world is dominated by the pursuit of genetic perfection and where discrimination is down to a science. The elite in this society are those who are selected through genetic diagnosis in order to ensure that they possess the best characteristics of their parents, and this is viewed as the path to perfection. These genetic alterations have created positive and negative consequences in this society. Positively science has succeeded in eliminating genetic defects and diseases from the population. Those children who are genetically modified are called "valids" and are the people who are treated well within this society; they get all the good jobs and make all the money. On the other hand there are those children who are created out of love and are not genetically modified before birth. These children are called "invalids" and they are in the lower caste of society.

On the negative side of genetic alterations, in this society genetic discrimination is forbidden, but it is still practiced, and as a result of this, only the valids receive the top jobs and the invalids are relegated to manual labor or in Vincent's case janitorial work.

In this movie the cast of characters is rich and diverse. The main protagonist is Vincent Freeman, an invalid. He is a short person who wears glasses and has a weak heart, his parents were told at his birth that he would die by the time he is thirty, due to his heart problems. The destiny for his life will result in cleaning toilets, and this is something that his parents tell him. As a result of his problems, Vincent's parents have a second child, one who they make perfect. Vincent's brother is named Anton Freeman. Anton is everything that Vincent is not and he lets Vincent know this at every turn. The two of them frequently played a game when they were children called "chicken" and this entailed the two of them swimming out into the ocean as far as they could and the loser would be the one who would quit first. Obviously the loser would always be Vincent because Anton was a perfect physical specimen who had greater physical stamina and strength. Then one day Vincent won this game and saved Anton's life. The third main character in this film is Jerome Morrow. Jerome is a valid who never saw himself as second best, and as a result of coming in second place in a competition he ended up trying to kill himself, which resulted in him becoming paralyzed. Due to this, Jerome loses all motivation to continue his life as a valid and gives his identity to Vincent, and it is with this borrowed identity Vincent achieves his dreams and works for Gattaca and ultimately goes up to space.

Within this movie, there are many major themes that are not only relevant in the film, but they also apply to our own future as modern science moves closer and closer to the aspects of this movie becoming reality. The first major theme in this movie is the danger of the frantic pursuit of technology, and how it threatens our ethical standard. The second theme of this film is how restrictive social systems affect individuals and how they respond to them, and in a way to how people deal with obstacles in general. Finally the third and final theme of this film is the majesty of the individual who is able to overcome the challenges that are placed in ones path.

In order to understand these themes, one needs to know the plot of this film. The film begins with a black screen that says "In the not so distant future" Vincent is born out of love and it is revealed to his parents that he will be dad by the time he is thirty. As a result of this, his parents lost faith in natural birth and had a second son, Anton, who is perfect in every way. Due to his social status as an invalid, Vincent leaves his home and becomes a janitor. The place he cleans is Gattaca, the space agency that he always dreamed about working at, and also about going into space himself. However with his status as an invalid, Vincent will never be able to work there. The only way he can achieve this goal is to borrow a valid's identity. By doing this, Vincent will become a "borrowed ladder" which is an invalid who impersonates a valid. The valid that Vincent uses is named Jerome Morow. Jerome is a former swimming star with a genetic profile that is perfect, who is paralyzed from the waist down. In order to achieve his goals of going into space, Vincent buys Jerome's identity and uses his blood, hair, tissue, and urine in order to pass through the security screenings.

Vincent needs to keep his cover while inside Gattaca headquarters and he does this by constantly cleaning his work station and himself, as well as making sure that at all times he has Jerome's genetic material with him in order to pass inspections. Vincent then goes to Gattaca to interview for a position and once he arrives there the entire interview is a DNA test to make sure that Vincent, posing as Jerome, is a valid. As a result of this valid blood, Vincent becomes one of the most senior officials at the company and is selected to go on a mission to Titus, one of the moons of Saturn. When only one week remains before Vincent's mission to Titus, one of the senior officials at Gattaca is found dead. During the ensuing police investigation, evidence of Vincent's in-valid DNA is found within the Gattaca Company, and as a result of this, Vincent becomes the prime suspect in the murder, and after this the police are looking for him throughout the city for the remainder of the movie.

While Vincent continues to run away from the police he falls in love with one of his coworkers, Irene. Irene herself is valid but she receives a less favorable treatment due to her high probability of heart failure, and as a result of this she will never be able to go into space. She is initially attracted to him because he is perceived by everyone at Gataca as a perfect human being. However as they get to know one another she discovers that he is actually an invalid who is using someone else's identity. She learns that he has actually lived longer than what the doctors told his parents at birth, and because of this Irene now believes that anything is possible and that one is not bound to their destiny, they are free to change it and create their own throughout the course of their lives. Finally near the end of the film, an arrest is made in the murder case. The Director is arrested for the murder because the mission was about to be canceled and the



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