Gattaca

In Gattaca's not-too-distant-future dystopia, genetics is a horribly misused science by which children of privilege have their genes tweaked at conception to ensure their success. This stacks the deck against Ethan Hawke, a natural birth who has a genetic disposition to myopia and heart disease, and will therefore never pass the strict genetic testing needed to be an astronaut for the prestigious Gattaca corporation. Hawke can train himself to be a shuttle navigator, but to pass the daily blood-sampling tests, he needs the black-market help and tissues of Jude Law, a perfect genetic specimen whose legs were horribly damaged. Using Law's genes works fine until the murder of a Gattaca director reveals the presence of a genetic inferior in the company. Gattaca is a remarkably good-looking movie; odd Scandinavian furniture, starkly forbidding concrete architecture, and a crisp Modernist look give the film a consistent sensibility of near-future corporate totalitarianism. The acting is almost as inorganic: Hawke does a merely adequate job as a societal infiltrator, Uma Thurman fails to generate any heat as Hawke's love interest, and only Law provides any depth as a bitter, shattered husk of a once-superior person. The film's bleak future society is admittedly nothing new, and there's no lack of contrived or wooden moments, but Gattaca's parable of nature versus nurture is compelling enough to make it worth seeing for reasons besides art direction.

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