SF elements

DNA testing, designer babies


[video sleeve]

Vincent [Ethan Hawke] is a natural birth -- his parents didn't choose the best of their eggs and sperm when they conceived him. He has terrible genetic handicaps -- he has a tendency to heart problems, is myopic, and is left handed. [Since when is being left-handed a genetic defect, she enquired, indignantly?] That means he is condemned to a life of menial jobs -- yet his burning ambition is to go into space. So he buys the genetic identity of Jerome [Jude Law], well-designed, but subsequently crippled in an accident. He gets a place at Gattaca, but shortly before his launch date, a director is brutally murdered. The subsequent investigation threatens to uncover his deception and kill his dreams.

[the future is grey] There seem to be very few women in this genetically perfect future (except for the obligatory love interest [Uma Thurman], of course) -- even the genetic low-lifes are nearly all men. Is XX that bad a genetic defect, that it has been almost totally eradicated, then?

An interesting view on a future ruled by genetic discrimination, and one man's attempt to beat the system. Everyone has to undergo near-continuous DNA and urine tests, and the tricks Vincent uses to pass all these tests are fun, if somewhat implausible (he can't have his myopia cured by surgery, because the scars would be visible, so instead he wears contact lenses ?). But the main thing going for this film is the design -- all the grey robot-like identical people in their grey business suits, with their grey lack of emotion -- oh, Brave New World, indeed.

Rating: 3.5

[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

reviewed 10 November 2001