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Gattaca

Gattaca is a 1997 science fiction drama film by director/screenwriter Andrew Niccol, starring Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman and Jude Law. more...

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The film presents a retro-futurist vision of a society driven by liberal eugenics where genetic engineering and in vitro fertilization have allowed engineering of children (including factors such as gender, intelligence, life expectancy, hair color, height, and the elimination of most genetic diseases). People who are conceived by "traditional" sexual reproduction ("faith love") form a poor underclass with inferior genes, collectively known as "in-valids", who are delegated to the lower ends of the social ladder.

The movie draws on concerns over technological developments which facilitate in vitro fertilization, genetic engineering and diagnosis of genetic disorders, and the possible consequences of such technology upon society.

Plot

In a fictional world where genetic engineering of humans is common and DNA plays the primary role in determining social class, Vincent (Hawke) is conceived and born without the aid of this technology. Suffering from the nearly-eradicated physical dysfunctions of nearsightedness and a congenital heart defect, as well as being given a life expectancy of 30 years, Vincent faces extreme discrimination and prejudice. The only way he can achieve his dream of becoming an astronaut is to impersonate someone else. He assumes the identity of paraplegic swimming star Jerome Eugene Morrow (Law) and, using DNA and tissue samples provided by Jerome, gains admittance to Gattaca, the space flight agency of the day. The plan works perfectly until an agency director is murdered and evidence of Vincent's own DNA is found at the crime scene in the form of an eyelash. Vincent must evade ever-increasing security as his mission launch date approaches as he pursues a relationship with his co-worker Irene Cassini (Thurman).

The story is centred around the irony of the "perfect" Jerome failing to realise the potential of his perfect genes due to this paralyzing accident and the "imperfect" Vincent transcending his. A milder version of the disorder which afflicts Vincent prevents Irene from taking part in space flight. This dichotomy shows how the eugenics policy in Gattaca and the world it is set in adversely impacts the humanity of both Vincent and Jerome, as well as the "in-valid" and "valid" humans they represent.

The film's themes include personal identity, courage, hope, the burden of perfection, faith, sibling rivalry, fate, genetic determinism, and whether humanity and the human spirit can be defined or limited by our DNA.

Criticism

The film Gattaca's retro-futurist depiction of genetic discrimination is now widely cited by bioconservatives as one of the convincing proofs that liberal eugenics is a dangerous idea.

Read more at Wikipedia.org


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