Sep 23, 2010

Gattaca

I found Gattaca on a list of the top 25 sci-fi movies of all time. I read the short write-up and I was intrigued by the concept. In this movie, the human race has advanced in genetic engineering to reach a stage where 'manufacturing' offspring with the best set of genes is the norm. Such persons are termed 'valids' (the others being referred to as 'invalids') and they get the best opportunities and training in almost all fields. The invalids are relegated to menial jobs like cleaning and housekeeping.

The story the the struggle of an invalid Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke) to 'fake' his identity into a group of valids training to become astronauts. He does so by adopting the persona of the handicapped valid Eugene Morrow (Jude Law). Gattaca complex where Vincent and a fellow valid trainee Irene Cassini (Uma Thurman) are being trained to become astronauts.

One of Gattaca's managing officers is murdered and Vincent becomes the main suspect but continues to evade the police. Sometime during this process, he falls in love with Irene, to whom he's forced to reveal his true identity. The film builds up to an exciting climax as Vincent prepares to board a 1-year mission to Jupiter.

Apart from the suspense and action of the movie, the most intriguing aspect is the class divide between valids and invalids, which mirrors the class divisions existing in our present society -- between the rich and the poor and between the upper castes and the lower castes.

To put things in perspective, this movie was made in 1997 and despite the genre of science fiction, it scarcely needs to use advanced graphics to keep the viewer engaged. I'd give this movie a 4*.

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