Sunday, September 21, 2008

Gattaca (1997)

"I not only think that we will tamper with Mother Nature. I think Mother wants us to." - Willard Gaylin

This is one of the two starting statements that the movie opens with. "Gattaca" draws the audience in by relating to us. It is a movie about the strength of our human spirit. "Gattaca" is a science-fiction film that takes place in the not-so-distant future, where DNA is almost the only factor that matters to society. In "Gattaca", science has made it possible to determine the probability rate of almost everything just by analyzing our DNA. It can even show if the person has a high likelihood of a violent temperament. As such, no one ever conceives naturally. Instead, they scientifically and manually fertilize female eggs with male sperms of a couple. Using this method, they are almost able to create any kind of person they want, gender, skin color, hair color, etc. They are also able to remove any birth defects or DNA that provokes a violent behavior and whatnot. Basically, this method is a better method of conceiving any child.

Unfortunately for our protangonist, Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke), he was naturally conceived and was born with a poor heart and other "DNA defects". His parents decided to create their next child through the scientific method, which, needless to say, yielded a child with incredible results. The story follows Vincent, a man with great aspirations but held back because of his genes. You see, Vincent wants to be a space navigator but to be one, you need to have incredible physique and intellect. Unfortunately for Vincent, the upper class society does not tolerate people with poor DNA. Although it is considered illegal to discriminate against people with poor DNA, no one really takes the law seriously. No matter how hard Vincent trained or studied, he was never even considered for the role of the navigator. Vincent decides to take on the identity of someone with perfect genes so he can attain his dreams. The story unfolds in a very interesting fashion.

What makes this film so good is that it not only focuses on Vincent, a man born with defects. It also talks about Morrow Jerome (Jude Law), the identity Vincent is trying to assume. Jerome is the opposite of Vincent, instead of being born with defects, he was born perfect. Jerome has to deal with the burden of perfection, which is to be the best in everything he does. "Gattaca" uses this contrast to bring out it's point further, that the human spirit is the ultimate factor that matters and nothing else.

Granted that there are already many movies about determination and the human spirit, but none has succeeded as much as Gattaca in my opinion. Through an incredible score, comparable if not better than "The Truman Show", good acting and perfect directing, this movie really captures the essence of the human spirit. Ethan Hawke and Jude Law delivers stellar performances, the supporting cast were almost equally great, especially Vincent's brother (Loren Dean).

Gattaca has always been one of my favorite movies of all time, I rate it 9/10.

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