Occasionally one of the haves has an accident. Then it is possible to assume that person's identity armed with genetic traces, blood and urine samples and some creative surgery. Thus armed he is able to enter Gattaca (the organization responsible for space flight) where he wins a position on the mission to Titan. But there is a hitch; a murder. During the investigative sweep one of his eyelashes is found and the search begins in earnest.
Most of the rest of the movie is involved with trying to maintain identity long enough to manage take off. Complicating matters are a Columbo-style detective (Alan Arkin), a love interest (Uma Thurman) and his brother from his old life. In the end it comes down to a simple idea. Many of the haves know a have-not (be it a child, sibling or whatever) who they have had to abandon and our hero represents the one ray of hope that these people can have. So just as he is discovered, the discoverers each have a reason to not turn him in and he begins the mission to Titan.
Gattaca, with its heavy detective cat-and-mouse, could be the successor to Alfred Bester's THE DEMOLISHED MAN. This was a very well made film with a good story, characters, acting and pacing. There were excellent performances from many of the cast including author Gore Vidal. If you like your films with a bit of thought then this is one you should look out for.
Lets start with the fact that THERE ARE NO EXTRAS WHATSOEVER on this DVD - which I find very disappointing, especially since the movie is trying to promote a certain abstract ideal, which a commentary with the director / screenwriter would have promoted.
The only way I colud discribe the acting, especially that of the 2 main stars is "terrible". Even when I consider the fact that both characters had something to hide or resent about the other, I found the acting to be too mechanical, like a couple of robots had replaced Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke... I've seen both in different roles in the past, and both are obviously very talented, so the problem isn't them but the plot and script...
I've finally reached the worst part of the movie for me: the plot. The story had a feeling that "I've been there and seen that" - because it is all just a big cliche. I realized what the ending was and the movie's message was from the first minute of the movie. The hardest for me to understand, were the many logic slips in the story. Please give the following some thought:
1) Vincent is described as a potentially very sick person - which wouldn't be the case for a large part of the 'In - Valids'. Most In - valids would be perfectly normal. If so, why would the healthier & intelligent ones be able to apply to Gattaca (or any other firm)? Isn't it in Gattaca's best interest to take the best people, whether they're valids or in - valids? If traits like determination and motivation are so important, why would Gatacca ignore them so easily?
2) If all of Vincent's problems could be remedied - his eye sight for instance - why would they be a prbolem for Gattaca in the first place? Heart conditions usually don't develop all of the sudden - they can be found a while before they cause any serious problems - which means that if Vincent was healthy, he would have no problem working for Gattaca. Otherwise, he would not only be risking his life, but the lives of the rest of his crew members (not to mention equipment and training which would cost dearly to Gattaca). Is fulfiling one man'd dream worth so much damage to others?
In general, I don't think this story can serve as a moral for our world. It only sees the world in black and white, and ignores a lot of issues that might blur those extremes.