Although made over ten years ago, the movie, Gattaca is more relevant to the times of today than when it was made. Genetic profiling is just a small part of the coming social engineering to be expected, based upon determinants presumed more absolute as scientific theoretics allow…sometimes forgotten to still have speculative basis and perhaps too generally accepted for the sake of expedience. Quite an opening for director/writer Andrew Niccol in his creation of a very moving film which challenges the “easy bake” protocols of a technocracy that wants to design the future of its society around genetic expectation; he that would have man and woman more than the sum of genetic “parts”.
Somewhere in this society, its social engineers forgot about character and how it is forged in the furnace of adversity. This is where Vincent Freeman’s (played expertly by Ethan Hawke) quest to travel among the stars begins, once he discovers a cottage industry underground to help those predetermined to be genetically inferior, to still have at least an inside chance to realize dreams otherwise denied them. This is the stuff upon which good science fiction is based. And drama.
His tragic “sponsor” in this intrigue is Jerome Morrow (played by the gifted Jude Law) who provides him identity and blood, urine…whatever is needed, to sell Vincent as Jerome, to Gattaca, the space academy where astronauts are made. Vincent had come to consider this a viable possibility when he out performed his genetically superior brother by the sheer strength of his own will, thereupon leaving home to begin a clandestine (relatively untraceable life) in order to begin his charade.
The hauntingly beautiful Uma Thurman serves her role as Irene Cassini with an equally haunting performance. Ethan Hawke interprets his role so well it is a natural and embracing process that allows her, as well as others, to come into Vincent Freeman’s predicament with empathy. Depictions in the scenes, and the action core, exploit this in such moving ways the viewer will most likely shed a tear or two.
Before this film is over viewers may not take for granted so much (as before) that all progress is beneficial and not all that is known, genetically or otherwise, is based on wise “knowing”. There might even be some realms in which exploration requires more than is presently had.
No unpardonable language, no nudity (dang it) and not too intense for children.
P.S.: Did I mention Ernest Borgnine appears? A real treat. Gore Vidal too.