Overview: A tech noir thriller about a man’s desire to travel to space and his struggle against the constraints of his society. R; 107 minutes

Genes: When it comes to science fiction, it’s always a joy to find films that focus on the story rather than the set pieces and special effects. At its best, Gattaca recalls 2001: A Space Odyssey (by director Stanley Kubrick), immersing the viewer in its themes and plot so thoroughly that the futuristic setting is an afterthought. Both films explore the connection of humans to the universe, though the portrayal in Gattaca is more subtle, focusing on its story arc by using dialogue rather than imagery. Both films challenge the moral side of creationism and give a rather uncomfortable view of the futuristic world and how it still intertwines with its past. 

At Their Best: Ethan Hawke and Jude Law deliver marvelous performances, arguably their best. Ethan Hawke, as Vincent Freeman, takes us through every disturbing feeling brought on by loneliness and deprivation of opportunity. The relationship between Uma Thurman’s character, Irene Cassini, and Vincent appears emotionally intact, but Vincent’s dishonest nature, isolation, and place in society threaten their stability.  However, the way they develop acceptance of each other, no matter the situation, is beautiful to watch unfold. Jude Law, as Jerome Eugene Marrow, is superb in his portrayal of a paralyzed man, who will do anything for his name to be a part of something extraordinary.  The depictions of these characters illustrate their society’s different standards and how those boundaries can be broken by desire and hard work alone.

The Look: This film’s futuristic setting is depicted perfectly with beautiful set pieces such as the scene where Vincent and Irene stay up to watch the sunrise at the solar farm and the external shots of Gattaca.  These are just a few examples of the beauty of this film. Director Andrew Niccol was able to give the film cyberpunk feel without ramming the use of CGI in the viewers face.

With All That Said: This film is a true testament to science fiction films and will keep viewers strongly entertained with its bountiful story and beautifully crafted scenery. Its strong performances along with the delightful dialogue drive home a contemporary caution story and triumph of the spirit’s will to succeed.

Grade: A –