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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Science Fiction For The Thinking Viewer
Gattaca paints a future where the haves are genetically designed and the have-nots are genetically inferior with no hope of advancement. But one young man has a dream. He wants to get into space. To do this he works out and studies as hard as he is able. But all of the hard work does no good. Then he finds a way.
Occasionally one of the haves has an accident...
Published on June 24 2004 by Joshua Koppel

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3.0 out of 5 stars VINCENT
The world of this movie was never meant for one as deficient genetically as this Vincent, we are given to understand. In this nearish future, genetic design is depicted as at least a frequent occurrence, perhaps even the norm. Vincent was conceived normally and brings into the world a daunting catalogue of infirmities, summed up in a life-expectancy of 30 years, low by...
Published on Feb. 11 2004 by DAVID BRYSON


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Science Fiction For The Thinking Viewer, June 24 2004
By 
Joshua Koppel (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Gattaca paints a future where the haves are genetically designed and the have-nots are genetically inferior with no hope of advancement. But one young man has a dream. He wants to get into space. To do this he works out and studies as hard as he is able. But all of the hard work does no good. Then he finds a way.
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The destiny of DNA, Feb. 23 2014
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
Imagine a world where your future is determined by your genes. Your schools, your job, your social status are all determined by what genetic flaws you have.

Such is the world that we see in "Gattaca," a scarily plausible sci-fi story that examines the implications of eugenics and genetic enhancement. Director Andrew Niccol thankfully never gets too preachy or "uplifting" -- instead he crafts a cleanly elegant story with a murder mystery as the catalyst, and the strong trinity Jude Law, Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke.

Vincent Freeman (Hawke) is an "invalid," conceived without eugenic technology. On the day he was born, it was predicted that he would be myopic, might be bipolar, and would probably die at thirty from a heart defect. Throughout his life, Vincent dreams of becoming an astronaut, but his genetic status dooms him to menial labor.

The solution: Vincent "buys" the identity and genetic profile of Jerome Eugene Morrow (Law), an Olympic swimmer who broke his back in a car crash. Vincent will pay Jerome, and Jerome will provide him with blood, urine, skin and hair samples.

With Jerome's help, Vincent is accepted into Gattaca Aerospace Corporation, and is chosen for a manned flight to Titan. But when one of the administrators is found murdered, the police find one of Vincent's eyelashes nearby. If they discover who Vincent truly is, he won't just lose his dream -- he'll be convicted of murder.

"Gattaca" is a movie that addresses one of life's great questions -- does destiny determine how we live our lives, or do we decide our own fate? There are no easy answers, but it's always best to err on the side of "we can make our own destiny" -- and this movie is basically all about one man's quest to determine his own fate, DNA be damned.

None of the movies Andrew Niccol has made since "Gattaca" have even come close to this level of skill -- the movie is a slow, elegant winding of murder mystery and philosophical sci-fi. The plot quietly grows in tension as Vincent's life becomes more tangled up in lies and suspicion, with quietly powerful dialogue laced with dry humor ("I guess we can rule out suicide," comments a cop as they bag a bloodied keyboard).

And it's beautifully filmed. Everything is full of clean lines and cold light, with the occasional moment of symbolism -- note that the apartment that Eugene and Vincent share is centered around a giant DNA-style spiral staircase.

And the final puzzle pieces are the actors, who are all really good. Ethan Hawke gives a quietly powerful performance as a man who goes to desperate lengths to fulfill his dreams, and Uma Thurman has the right mix of icy reserve and sweetness as a "valid" woman who falls in love with the man rather than his DNA.

But the best performance is Jude Law. Jerome a truly tragic character, whose genetic perfection wasn't enough to keep disaster away -- he's proof that DNA can't make your life good or rewarding. Law plays him with a mixture of bitter wit and compassion, with perpetually shadowed eyes and a drink always in his hand. You may cheer for Vincent, but your heart will bleed for Jerome.

"Gattaca" is a masterpiece of science fiction -- a richly nuanced, beautifully understated work that reminds you that, no matter where we come from, we can all reach for the stars.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite sci-fi, Jan. 9 2014
By 
E. Wong - See all my reviews
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I love how this move explores the nature vs. nurture theme - gives us all hope in our everyday lives
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5.0 out of 5 stars An all time favorite, Sept. 8 2013
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Love this film, and always will. I like that I have a great quality copy of this. The aesthetic of this move is very appealing to me.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great find., April 24 2013
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This review is from: Gattaca Bilingual (DVD)
It was great to find this movie, been looking for a while. My wife saw it years ago, but could not find it. She was delighted to get it on her birthday.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Movie, Aug. 20 2007
This was a great movie and I believe that everybody should watch it.

I couldn't understand why he was holding it with his right hand when he was supposed to be left handed....
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3.0 out of 5 stars VINCENT, Feb. 11 2004
By 
DAVID BRYSON (Glossop Derbyshire England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Gattaca (VHS Tape)
The world of this movie was never meant for one as deficient genetically as this Vincent, we are given to understand. In this nearish future, genetic design is depicted as at least a frequent occurrence, perhaps even the norm. Vincent was conceived normally and brings into the world a daunting catalogue of infirmities, summed up in a life-expectancy of 30 years, low by even the standards of certain far eastern counties today. This does not sit well with his consuming ambition to travel into space, and the film builds a collection of different plots and sub-plots around this basic quandary.
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. Like the Director, the characters are schematic and line-drawn, and such as they are they are very well done. The trouble, I hate to say, is the plotting.
Not only is the basic setting not really required, the theme of Vincent's physical frailty actually has nothing to do with the ethical question of designer-vs-natural conception either. These threads are separate strands thrown into a single bag, so to speak, but not woven together. In much the same way the murder investigation, which threatens to blow Vincent's cover and reveal his clever DNA exchange with Jerome, is very loosely integrated with the main action - anything of that kind would have taken only the smallest mischance to come to light, and the efforts of the investigators make the quest for certain weapons in Iraq even as I write look a model of competence. It all left me not even needing to make a willing supension of disbelief at how an impoverished janitor obtained the funds first to pay the rapacious clandestine transgenetics operator and second to pay his way though the Gattaca induction programme. To cap it all, there is a further sub-plot of sibling rivalry between Vincent and his eugenic younger brother Anton, which must be important, I have to assume, as one of their periodic swimming contests takes place at the climactic stage of the story. And of course there is a love-theme as well, in case the film ran out of themes.
I suppose this could hardly be called a rave-notice, and I fully admit that the film at least held my attention. It is not a bad film by any means, but the nearer in time to us that such an action is supposed to take place the harder it is to keep one's normal rational faculties switched off.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Tense: Future imperfect (genetic style), June 27 2003
By 
FrKurt Messick "FrKurt Messick" (Bloomington, IN USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Gattaca (VHS Tape)
Gattaca is a fascinating science fiction/mystery movie, set in the 'not too distant future', in which astronauts dress in stylish, roaring-twenties inspired clothing and where the world seems to be finely ordered and sequenced, just like a genetic code.
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.
Vincent, in the person of Jerome, falls in love with Irene (played by Uma Thurman), who works at Gattaca in a sort of genetic quality-control position. She falls in love the potential, the idea of Jerome, but eventually comes to love the imperfect Vincent. She herself, for all the genetic planning, also has an imperfection, which makes her all the more attractive to Vincent.
Gore Vidal has a small but crucial role as a flight director in charge of keeping things on track (with style!) as the murder investigation threatens the operations at Gattaca.
This movie is a visually interesting, unique, and much under-rated and under appreciated show. It won awards for art direction and other stylistic touches, including the Oscar.
I won't spoil the ending, but suffice it to say that Vincent and Jerome both leave the earth.
'For someone never meant for this world, I must confess, I'm suddenly having a hard time leaving it. Of course, they say that every atom of our body was once part of a star. Maybe I'm not leaving. Maybe I'm going home.'
Interestingly, the idea of genetics is woven into the movie in very many ways, some subtle, some explicit. The very title, Gattaca, consists of the strands of bases that comprise the double helix of DNA G (guanine), A (adenine), C (cytosine), and T (thymine) -- the sequence of these bases constitutes genetic information, much as the arrangement of the 26 letters of this alphabet constitutes information.
This is a clever film, a bit slow, but stylish, suspenseful, wonderfully visual, and well worth a weekend evening investment.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Jack of all trades, master of none, Dec 19 2002
Granted, Gattaca certainly tries to be all things to all people - it sells itself variously as a Philip K. Dick-esque sci-fi, as a Tense Political Thriller, an Edgy Romance, even as a Rumination on Filial Love and Obligation - but in my book it fails badly on every count. I am clearly in the minority on this, so I had better explain.
From the opening sequence, something is clearly amiss: I mean, extreme close-ups of exfoliated skin and toenail clippings, anyone?
Thereafter, things do not improve.
First off, the sci-fi premise is flimsy (it's a rap on the genetically programmed to be perfect humans vs. "human" humans debate: where "human" humans have become "invalid" citizens, electronically tagged and shut out mainstream society of perfectly engineered "valid" humans. But, you would think, if there is sufficient technology to eradicate human flaws at conception, then surely someone must clever enough to fix them later in life too, no?).
The special effects team (who, in fairness, didn't have much to do other than the aforementioned toenail clipping close-ups and the odd distant rocket launch) seem to have missed the last 35 years in development of special effects.
The brother vs. brother thread is schmaltz (the whole relationship can be summed up, apparently, by who was the better swimmer when they were boys), ... Good grief.
What else... oh yes, the lack of chemistry between Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke beggars belief (Thurman looks continually as if the very sight of Hawke gives her the screaming heebie jeebies), and the thriller/whodunnit piece does not import a sense of drama into the proceedings. And boy does the film need it.
The only saving grace is Jude Law, who seems to make his living these days propping up dreadful films with solid performances (see A.I. and The Road To Perdition in this regard), and who at the critical moment in the film, performs a very deft ascent of a spiral staircase without using his legs.
That is to be commended, however bad the rest of the experience.
Olly Buxton
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "There Is No Gene for the Human Spirit", July 1 2004
By 
Michael R Gates (Nampa, ID United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
1997's science-fiction drama GATTACA offers an intelligent look into the possible future of applied DNA science, a future where potential parents are given the ability to determine the genetic characteristics and thereby create a society of near-perfect super-humans. As one might deduce, this means that individuals born the "natural way"--such folk are referred to as "In-Valids"--are deemed inferior and prejudicially relegated to the lower rungs of the social ladder. In other words, In-Valids are considered mere mortals in this high-tech, genetically engineered world, and as such, education and opportunity are socially beyond their reach.
The film's plot revolves around Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke), an In-Valid who works as a janitor at an aerospace firm named Gattaca Corporation. But in spite of society's view of him, Vincent has dreams of someday going into space himself, and his intelligence and all-consuming drive to find a way to transcend societally imposed barriers leads him into an alliance with a black-marketeer (Tony Shalhoub) and a genetically "superior" young man (Jude Law) who wants to sell his own identity. Soon Vincent is engaged in a scheme to secure employment as an engineer at Gattaca and thereby realize his goals and dreams. But once he's finally on the other side of the fence, how long can he sustain such subterfuge in a society where an individual's genetic identity is constantly monitored and even a lost eyelash can provide authorities with enough genetic material to expose a fraud?
GATTACA examines the nature of personal identity, personal destiny, and the idea that an individual can become more than the sum of his parts. Aldous Huxley's BRAVE NEW WORLD already thoroughly covers these same themes, but GATTACA approaches them in a more earnest and less satirical manner than does Huxley's magnum opus. GATTACA is therefore a very literate piece of speculative SF that should appeal to those who desire more than the standard STAR WARS (1977) or bug-eyed alien fare. Unfortunately, the film is a bit too cerebral for the average filmgoer, and probably explains why GATTACA was a bit of a bomb at the box office.
The film is excellently scripted and directed by Andrew Niccol, who later penned the script for the acclaimed THE TRUMAN SHOW (1998). The all-star cast does a fantastic job of acting, too, even those in minor roles (watch for Ernest Borgnine, Gore Vidal, Xander Berkeley, and others). Slawomir Idziak's cinematography is gorgeous but never overwhelms the story, and the special FX, though minimal, are subtle and quite effective. GATTACA is a great example of what thoughtful, intelligent SF cinema should be.
The standard DVD version of GATTACA from Columbia/Tristar offers a very good digital transfer of the film (there are a few filmic artifacts) in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. It also has bonus material that includes a short featurette, trailers, and some deleted scenes. The SuperBit DVD version--also in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen--offers a crisper, less grainy digital transfer, but it was apparently made from the same source and therefore contains the same filmic artifacts. (Audiophiles note: the SuperBit does have superior sound.) Keep in mind that, as with other SuperBit offerings from Columbia/Tristar, the increased bit rate comes at the cost of bonus material--you get the film only. And the higher cost of the SuperBit is justifiable only if you have a high-definition TV and can therefore appreciate the extra visual info. Regardless of which DVD version is purchased, however, a GATTACA DVD is a must-own for any true fan of intelligent speculative science fiction.
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Gattaca (Special Edition) (Sous-titres français) [Import]
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