Gattaca – sci-fi movie directed by Andrew Niccol
Gattaca is a sci-fi movie directed by Andrew Niccol. In the cast of this movie there are some important actors like Ethan Hawke (as Vincent), Uma Thurman (as Irene) and Jude Law (as Jerome).
This film is the critical representation of an hypothetical future society driven by genes manipulation: the so called eugenics.
In a not so distant future, human beings, are created with an almost perfect genetic, directly selected, before the fertilization by their parents. Using this process is possible to know in advance virtually anything related to the physical and hereditary characters of the future person. The last “versions” of ultimate human beings are generated without imperfections.
Using the analysis of blood and urine, companies select employees more responsive to the workplace, even if it is declared an illegal practice. For choice of parents, Vincent was born in a natural way, without the intervention of science, contrary to his younger brother and is catalogued as “Non-Valid”. He is diagnosed with the same cardiac weakness of the father and for this reason he is supposed to die at the age of 32 years. But Vincent always dreamed to become an astronaut and decides to work for Gattaca Aerospace Corporation, the most prestigious space-flight company responsible for the aerospace interplanetary missions. Because of his condition of “non-valid”, Vincet knows that it can not pass the genetic analysis carried out on blood (which are officially taken under the pretext of an examination drugs).
After a suggestion given by a colleague, Vincent decides to buy the identity of Jerome, a genetically perfect athlete, who became paraplegic after an accident. Vincent rebuilds his new identity day after day working hard with intensive training, using continuously bags of blood and urine that Jerome prepare accurately in order to pass the controls, submitting to orthopedic surgery to increase his height and contact lenses to replace his glasses. With Jerome’s impressive genetic profile he easily gains access to Gattaca. With his own equally impressive determination, he quickly becomes one of the company’s best students. Is in this part of the story that he falls in love with a female colleague, Irene, who initially doesn’t know about his secret identity. The climax of the plot consists in the murder of one of the flight directors that intended to cancel the launch of the mission and on the crime scene is found an eyelash of Vincent. A complex investigation will bring close to the Vincent’s incrimination but thanks to Irene’s loyalty he can escape from the police. Then is found responsible for the murder the director of the space program, who wanted to avoid the cut of the project.
At the end Vincent realize his dream of starting as an astronaut for space travel continuing his relationship with Irene who loves him even aware of his diversity, while Jerome sadly chooses the self-destruction. Paradoxically, who was born disadvantaged finally win the challenge thanks to a strong desire to win the personal limits.
Gattaca is a mix between two different kinds of movie. The main genre is definitely sci-fi but there are a lot of elements that belong to another sub-genre of movies: the so called “film noir”. This particular genre of film, was born in 1940’s and is characterized by a mixture of criminal investigations is often involved a particular kind of figure: the femme fatale. In this kind of film, the male protagonist is often embroiled in murders or crimes in general caused by a beautiful, glamorous and sexualised woman traditionally with dark hair. In this kind of genre, dubious morality and corruption are often the lifestyles of the characters that are generally contextualized in a urban dark location. In Gattaca all these elements are relevant.
In science fictional movies, there is often a general pessimistic hypothetical view about the future. In this kind of movie the future is seen like the negative concretization of all the bad, immoral things related to the contemporary society. The futuristic human beings have always to face with the uncontrolled and exaggerate future results of the negative aspects of science and technology. Thi pessimistic idea of the future world is called dystopias. However there are also science fictional movies with a positive idea about the future. In this films there is a “utopistic” future of harmony.
In Gattaca, there are many themes treated and even if the future society is not afflicted by conflicts or wars, people are ruled by a strong use of technology. Gattaca is not an explicit condemnation to science, but it warns about the possible consequences in the society of an immoral usage of genetic engineering. The Gattaca’s society is ruled by science and human are build like perfect machines with predetermined qualities thanks to the genetic manipulation. People can be valid or non-valid depending on the decisions of their parents and the natural destiny of a person is lost in name of career in a perfect society. The director, who is the writer of the story as well, plays a lot with the irony existing between the valid perfect Jerome with every advantage who failed in his life and the non-valid imperfect Vincent who with force of will escape from is condition. The determinism is the winning card that allows Vincent to reach his dream even if, in order to do that he must change his personal identity and become a dishonest. This is another ironical point because the protagonist, has to be dishonest in order to reach what he actually deserves and avoid to be discriminated from the modern society.
Discrimination is of course another important theme developed in the story. Vincent as non-valid is discriminated not for a personal lack of skills but, for a physical natural imperfection. In the very last part of the movie, is shown a list of people who in this kind of society would have been rejected and discriminated as non-valid like Albert Einstein and Abraham Lincoln.
The film’s themes include also courage of believe in something and fight for it, the risky, socially unacceptable and unusual love between Vincent and the valid Irene. In this case, the figure of “femme fatale”, has no more a negative connotation but, becomes a very positively determinant character which represents the power of love and human feelings even in absence of democracy. Hope and strong force of will are the recipe for overlapping forced barriers and the utopia of perfection is ironically defeated by the human imperfection. I Gattaca even the rivalry between the two brother is a useful tool for Vincent to become proud of himself. Analyzing this new society, the main point is define whether DNA can control and define human nature and human spirit.
Probably all the themes treated in the movie are present in our contemporary society as well under different shapes. That is why this movie is something between an warning about the indiscriminate use of eugenics or science in general and a critical tale towards modern society. Our world is full of discriminated people, society is controlled and democracy hardly still exists. DNA researches are uncontrolled and ordinary people are not aware of what the oligarchic system decides. Probably the only sensate thing is to exclude people with heart diseases from space-flight missions…