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Overall Rating
4.05

Awesome44.74%
Worth A Look: 32.89%
Just Average: 13.16%
Pretty Crappy: 1.32%
Sucks: 7.89%

3 reviews, 58 user ratings


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Gattaca
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by Zarathustra

"Visually striking, but often dramatically inert"
4 stars

Dystopian visions of the future have become so commonplace at the movies that I can't recall the last time I saw an optimistic piece of science fiction prophecy.

GATTACA, written and directed by Andrew Nichols (THE TRUMAN SHOW), imagines a BRAVE NEW WORLD-ish society governed by the doctrine of DNA. For the genetic engineer legatees of the Human Genome Project, DNA is destiny, and anyone conceived "au naturel" is a failure and an outcast. Bigotry is now an exact science. (Hence the title GATTACA, like a DNA string: G = guanine, A = adenine, T = thymine, C = cytosine.)


Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke) is a natural birth whose heart defect keeps him out of all but the most menial jobs. In order to infiltrate the Gattaca corporation (where space flights leave regularly), Jerome "borrows" the genetic identity of one of the elite, now a paraplegic crippled by a car accident and alcoholism, Jerome Eugene Morrow (Jude Law). Once inside, Vincent manages to blend in by passing off Jerome's tissue--secret blood packets, urine packets, hair follicles, skin particles--as his own during the regular genetic tests used to screen out "invalids". He meets and falls in love with the beautiful Irene (Uma Thurman). All goes swimmingly until a murder inside GATTACA brings in the cops, and Vincent is in danger of being discovered.

Though the concept is timely, and the look of the film is sleak, crisp, and beautiful (much of it was shot inside a Frank Lloyd Wright designed building), the movie never makes much of the cop thriller interlude. The murder mystery just never engages our attention: we're never WORRIED enough about Vincent, partly because Hawke doesn't have enough presence here to engage us.
Supposedly he's the "natural man" whose spirit is strong, as opposed to the artificial genetically-enhanced lab-births whose spirits and imaginations have become impoverished by technology. Yet the crippled ubermensch, as played by the gifted Jude Law, is so much more charismatic, witty, clever, and sympathetic than Hawke's everyman hero that the filmmaker's thesis becomes muddled, even overturned. At one point Law tells Hawke, "I only lent you my body; you lent me your dream," but what dream was that? It's *Law* who has the look of a wild dreamer in his eyes, not Hawke. The movie's best moments are the quiet ones in which Hawke's friendship with Law (the "body fluids" exchange, Hawke's frequent nudity, and Law's pretty boy pulchritude, have led some viewers to read this relationship as homoerotic), and his heterosexual romantic one with Thurman, are allowed to develop. In the end, GATTACA is more compelling as small-scale human drama than either detective story or science fiction.

GATTACA failed at the box office, but I think it'll generate more interest as time goes by (despite its flaws). For one thing, the Human Genome Project is now completely mapped, so all the attendant anxieties and dilemmas are once again very much in the public eye. For another, Jude Law made THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY, got an Oscar nomination, and is now a full-fledged star.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=472&reviewer=213
originally posted: 07/07/00 02:53:47
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Brisbane Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Brisbane Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

3/02/16 Anne tried so hard to like it..... 2 stars
8/21/13 PAUL SHORTT GLOSSY SCI-FI, WITH GREAT PERFORMANCES 3 stars
2/09/09 natalie jones fab its got so much detail but its way to complicated fot a 13 yr old to watch lol 5 stars
5/24/07 Lauren Was forced to watch it for school- dullest movie invented 1 stars
11/16/06 J.Pet One of the most over looked films in decades. A classic! 5 stars
7/31/06 Marty I can't remember ever being more bored. The flaws kept me awake. 1 stars
5/07/06 PDF Best movie ever 5 stars
4/10/06 Indrid Cold Despite flirting with some big issues, it's really just a repetitive murder mystery. 3 stars
11/02/05 che (cube) nice movie but not so good actors 4 stars
8/29/05 tatum Interesting, but too reserved and cold 4 stars
8/22/05 ES First rate, inspirational and disheartening all at once, great cast 4 stars
6/27/05 Ionicera visually nice but the ideas aren't explored and plot is pretty thin 3 stars
3/18/05 Tom Perhaps the purest SciFi film ever made. Characters are driven by the SciFi Premise. 5 stars
1/26/05 prue great movie 4 stars
12/24/04 salam it has a usefull goal concerning discrimination 4 stars
12/20/04 Mike Makes me cry every time and I'm not a weeper. What a great, thoughtful scifi film. 5 stars
10/23/04 ODH A sci-fi flick that actually gets you to think? Great movie 5 stars
6/14/04 PR Best Movie ever- Even better than Blade Runner 5 stars
5/05/04 JR Francisco Lombo: I can't believe you think that. Best Sci-fi movie by a mile! 5 stars
11/18/03 s'tude one of my faves. Visually and aurally beautiful, with intellectual meat to chew on too. 5 stars
10/28/03 Nicole Great Sci/Fi 4 stars
10/06/03 matt The best kind of SF film as it deals with ideas. Genuinely quite affecting I think. 5 stars
10/01/03 Jinnvisible Unusuall mix,,, social caste system,science fiction,romance,thriller, ----------works well. 4 stars
9/24/03 Gray important film 5 stars
9/21/03 Darryl One of the 90's best. Hawke and Law are both excellent. Thought-provoking story. 5 stars
9/20/03 R. R. Great movie, if you believe it suck then you're obviously not intellectual. 5 stars
8/10/03 Jean I loved it. One of my favorite movies. Especially loved interaction between Hawke and Law. 5 stars
6/18/03 Francisco Lombo VERY BAD MOVIE, the story MIGHT have something originally, but it is really badly narrated 1 stars
6/14/03 E I normally don't like movies like this, but hey, this one was pretty damn good. 4 stars
3/27/03 Atanu The movie was great, wish it wasn't uma thurman though. 5 stars
3/25/03 Jack Sommersby One of 1997's 10-best films. 4 stars
2/07/03 natasha_theobald riveting performances and taut drama with a fascinating sci-fi storyline 4 stars
1/14/03 TheBomb69 enjoyed it, quit comparing to other Sci-Fi flicks 4 stars
2/24/02 Becca Loved it !!! 4 stars
10/30/01 Patch Must See 5 stars
10/21/01 P.Rodriguez Had To Give A higher Mark. The Director of Photography who worked in this movie rocks! 5 stars
4/01/01 Indira Garcia I think this movie was worth a look 4 stars
4/01/01 Jesse L please don't make me watch it ever again... 1 stars
3/07/01 Sanja great imagination 5 stars
2/05/01 mister char utter crap 1 stars
10/24/00 Viking Brilliant. Sci-fi doesn't need state of the art special effects to convey it's message 5 stars
7/07/00 gromm The story has a really great idea, but doesn't _quite_ follow through, unfortunately. 4 stars
5/17/00 clear and crisp agree.. this is a rare movie about both hope and despair. looks gorgeous too. 5 stars
5/07/00 seldom scene interesting subject matter, ending suffers 4 stars
5/03/00 P.Rodriguez I forward Rue the Whirls opinion kick TMC out- This IS THE BEST MOVIE EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
4/27/00 Rue the Whirl Please stop letting ignorant "teen movie critics" give reviews. Please? 5 stars
4/19/00 malcolm scifi, crime suspense, romance. well paced. thurman never has turned me on. 5 stars
2/23/00 Jeebo1 this is seriously shit 1 stars
1/16/00 cosmo terrific, intelligent, provocative, beautiful, well acted 5 stars
1/09/00 unstrung a stroy about hope--something i dearly miss 5 stars
10/16/99 Shelagh I thought it was special. It really made me think. It was careful and calm. 5 stars
8/17/99 Japtalian Intelligent scifi. Very subtle, entertaining film. 4 stars
6/14/99 Dylan Very under-rated. Gattaca is intelligent and (mostly) unpretentious. A must see. 4 stars
4/14/99 Jon Jackson Surprise, it doesn't suck! 4 stars
1/02/99 Dasha Cold and distant, but I loved it. Must Uma Thurman be so damn beautiful? 5 stars
1/01/99 jvt Some silly moments but mostly worthwhile 3 stars
12/05/98 d`d` Good science fiction is linked to science fact, it's conceptually as scary as Truman Show 5 stars
8/25/98 Pete Enjoyed it more than I thought. I normally dispise Ethan Hawke, but he wasn't bad. 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  24-Oct-1997 (PG-13)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  N/A


Directed by
  Andrew Nicol

Written by
  Andrew Nicol

Cast
  Ethan Hawke
  Uma Thurman
  Gore Vidal
  Xander Berkeley
  Jayne Brook
  Elias Koteas



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