Ric Roman Waugh, 2013
Ethan Hawke, with quiet intensity plays Vincent, a “God-Child” (meaning he was conceived naturally) in a world where you order your kid like a Burger King Whopper. In the not-so-distant future, you see, children are genetically manufactured, and thus many turn out to be perfect. But Vincent isn’t. His life expectancy is 37 years, he has a bad heart, and so he is unsuitable for his dream job, to be an astronaut (Why? Why?). In this world, genetics determine what companies will or will not hire you, Vincent is genetically incapable of being more than a janitor, but he is a dreamer who yearns to be an intergalactic explorer.
So he decides to try something bold and daring. He will attempt to get hired into a space-exploration company called Gattaca by becoming a “degenerate.” Basically, that means borrowing somebody else’s genetic identity. Well, this someone else is Jerome Morrow (the stunning Jude Law), a perfect-in-every-way athlete who was paralyzed in an accident. They change identities and Vincent becomes Jerome. Now, this review will get confusing. Ready? Here we go. The original Jerome prepares blood and orine samples for the original Vincent, whose name is now Jerome. The original Vincent, in return, pays th erent and buys all of the necessities for Jerome. Yes, I know, it’s a mouthful. So Jerome (the original Vincent, but I’ll call him Jerome and vice-versa) gets the job and is scheduled for a space mission, just when a high-ranking official at Gattaca is murdered. Jerome’s eyelash is found at the scene and he fears that it may uncover his true identity.
Hats off to you if you understood that.
There is barely a trace of action in Gattaca. A punch in the nose is as close as it gets. Instead, it is a surprisingly quiet, true science fiction drama that explores many subjects — tyranny, slavery, and the most innefective of them all — brotherly love, because the protagonist (I’m sick of the Jerome/Vincent deal) has a perfect brother. Ethan Hawke and Jude Law are as good as it gets, but Uma Thurman, who plays Vincent’s genetically superior lover, seems a bit stagnant and unemotional. Their relationship never quite sizzles either.
Gattaca clearly has it’s flaws, but it is still a well-directed, visually stunning morally complex tale. There is no gene for a good movie.
-- Eugene Novikov