Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I watched Gattaca today. It's one of my favorite movies, and every time I watch it I notice things I've never noticed before. If you've never seen it, you...should. Summary (in the words of Ebert hee):

Gattaca is set in a future in which genetics determine your social status. Genetic engineering--which embraces the idea of 'designer babies', eliminating chance for disease or 'prejudicial elements' of obesity/myopia/etc--is favored over the traditional method of procreation.

Vincent (Ethan Hawke) was born in the old-fashioned way, and his genetic tests show he has bad eyesight, heart problems and a life expectancy of about 30 years. He is an "In-Valid,'' and works as a cleaner in a space center.

Vincent does not accept his fate. Now Vincent dreams of becoming a crew member on an expedition to one of the moons of Saturn. Using an illegal DNA broker, he makes a deal with a man named Jerome (Jude Law), who has the right genes but was paralyzed in an accident. Jerome will provide him with blood, urine samples and an identity. In a sense, they'll both go into space. The sudden murder of a director at his workplace threatens to unravel their plan.

The film is beautifully shot.

I particularly like the early scenes which highlight Vincent's isolation/separation as a "faith-child" and the contrast between his status and that of his engineered (and favored) brother.

this shot is great, too. Here Vincent is working as a janitor at Gattaca. The escalator is used by the crew members at the company. His stairway up is right before him, but he can't take it.

I thought the double-helix staircase was very clever, as Vincent climbs Jerome's "ladder" to a better future. Jerome, who is paralyzed, can no longer make it up the staircase.

Some more shots:

Another thing that stands out is the use of red/green throughout the film:

all images (c) Columbia Pictures

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