Monday, January 16, 2012

Gattaca (1997)

Links: TVTropes, Wikipedia, IMDB (7.8).

Set in "the not-too-distant future", this film is sermon about designer babies, eugenic discrimination, and effort versus genetic determinism. The main storyline is decent enough, and the film occasionally makes some good points, but the film is as subtle as a brick. It also goes way over quota on pretentiousness: it shows a society of impossibly pretty people who never emote, who are seemingly trapped in a world of late-30s retro-noir while wearing impeccable suits at all hours of the day, even if they are astronauts currently being launched into space. It's also hurt by the lack of attention to scientific detail: sure, we know much more now than we did in 1997, but we definitely knew then that upbringing and lifestyle had huge effects on, say, the odds of developing heart disease. Worst of all, the movie left untouched the most significant controversy of all: when designer babies become possible, only the rich will be able to afford such screening. In the world of the film, one's genes determine one's socioeconomic status, but in the real world cause and effect would thus be reversed, leading to much more controversial questions that are barely hinted at in Gattaca. Overall, it's good, but it could have been so much more. Score: 2 stars out of 4.

Aside: Hello-o-o fanservice! Ethan Hawke would not be my first choice in normal circumstances, but he's looking quite nice here and the camera is not shy about showing it.

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