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.
Brazil did it better.
To start with what is particularly good about Gattaca, the sets are striking. They create a 'futuristic' aura very successfully, so much so that they they actually forced my attention on to what I believe to be one aspect of the film's main weakness, namely the plot or plots - Vincent's basic dilemma does not require a future setting at all. If he had been a weakling trying to get into a career in, say, sport or the armed services in 2004 that would have dealt with the issue just as well. The other thing that is distinctly good, in a certain kind of way, is the acting. When Gore Vidal, of all people, makes an early entrance in the role of Director, I reflected momentarily that I had never seen him acting before. In an instant I had corrected myself - I have never seen Vidal not acting. He acts a persona of his own creating whenever he appears on the media, and it is no surprise that he carries off his film role so convincingly. The Director is a far simpler personality that the real-life Gore Vidal. The three main roles are taken by Ethan Hawke as Vincent, Jude Law as the crippled but genetically perfect Jerome, and Uma Thurman as Irene.Read more ›
In fact, it is the genetic code which determines all. Test-tube babies are the norm for anyone who wants to have a chance; screening out imperfections has become routine, and those who have the misfortune of being born outside the system of genetic checks and balances will find themselves invalid (in-valid in the sense of not valid for work, as well as invalid in the sense of incapacitated for advancement). Society has been structured around a pre-defined sense of potential as projected by genetic codes. But there are a few who challenge the system.
Meet Vincent, a.k.a. Jerome Morrow (played by Ethan Hawke), who dreams of the stars and lusts for a position at Gattaca (the new-age NASA), but with the genetic code of a loser. Enter Jerome Morrow, a.k.a. Eugene (played by Jude Law), who has the potential, but also a broken spinal cord -- he lends Vincent, through an ingenious and intricate system, his genetic sequence. In this guise, Vincent thus rises to the position of navigator, selected for the great Titan/Saturn mission.
Then, the director gets murdered. A flake of skin falls from Vincent which the investigators find, and the chase is on. The launch is a week away. Will Vincent outrun the pursuers in time?
Of course, Vincent's pursuers are led by his brother, the genetically-planned offspring of the family, who thought that Vincent was dead. There is an ultimate contest, which Vincent wins, proving the victory of determination over pre-determination.Read more ›