Movie Review- Gattaca

November 13th, 2016

The film Gattaca mirrors the qualities of it’s main protagonist. It’s striving to be perfect, yet there are flaws that hold it back.

Gattaca’s uneventful and mostly predictable plot was barely able to hold my attention for the 1 hour and 46- minute duration. The secret identity concept of the film and the futuristic theme is what kept me tied in.

The sci-fi/drama was released in 1997 and is rated PG-13. Ethan Hawke plays the protagonist Vincent, who possesses invalid genes, so he is not pure enough to go into outer-space. In order to make his dreams a reality, Vincent adopts the identity of Jerome Murrow played by Jude Law. Jerome has “valid” genes, but has become paralyzed waste down due to an accident. While the real Jerome stays hidden, Vincent goes through drastic changes in order to become Jerome’s double in order to get accepted into Gattaca Aerospace. When the mission commander is murdered, Vincent’s coworker and love interest Irene (Uma Thurman) starts to get suspicious of who he really is.

Jude Law was the stand-out performer for me. I have seen him as the lovable Dr. Watson in the Sherlock Holmes films. Law showed his range by portraying a depressed paraplegic. Hawke and Thurman performed well too, but just didn’t seem to have much of an arc. Even though Hawke had to portray two separate identities, the both seemed exactly the same.

The story line was unique, but it wasn’t the direction I thought the film would go. I was more interested with the flashback/origin scene of Vincent and his transformation into Jerome. The “perfect genetics” details are what drew me in. As the plot unfolded it became too predictable and went more into a hide-and-seek game. Some scenes seemed unnecessary and repetitive so the movie seemed to drag. For example, there were multiple scenes of Vincent scrubbing down his body and “transforming” into Jerome. Also, there were also multiple scenes with Vincent in the doctor’s office where tests are being done. Despite being less than two hours done, I grew impatient and just wanted to see the film wrapped up. Less time could have been spent on the underwhelming scenes and replaced with more action packed scenes.

The opening and ending were the best parts of the film because they were the most suspenseful, even though I found the ending to be unsatisfying. The opening nicely demonstrated the contrast of valid and invalid genes by showing two brothers. One who is valid and one who is invalid. The ending had a bit of a plot twist that I should have seen coming, but didn’t so that ended up leaving me with unanswered questions. Leaving the viewer in a slight case of bewilderment during the credits was a good tactic. The rest of the film seemed like a strung-out, uneventful build up to the climax.

The part that upset the most was that I don’t think Ethan Hawke and Jude Law look that similar. As a viewer, I could easily distinguish the two even after Vincent goes through his “transformation”. Whenever there was some type of blood or drug test, the real Jerome’s picture would come up and nobody seemed to notice how different it was from Vincent. Also, I don’t understand why Vincent didn’t pick up on Jerome’s British accent. The director should have cast more similar looking actors, or should have had the makeup team put more of an effort into making their faces match up. There also should have been more attention to detail in other aspects than just similar appearances.

Another choice that I didn’t particularly care for were the outdoors scenes with the yellow filter. I get how they are going for the futuristic look, but to me it seemed too unnatural.

The intended audience would be science fiction fanatics. It takes place in a futuristic world (well, what the 90s thought looked futuristic) and has futuristic medical operations and technologies. It’s less of a love story and more about finding one’s true identity and accepting their flaws. People who are not into the sci-fi genre and who prefer more action will be bored with Gattaca.

Gattaca possesses the qualities of being a good film, like having decent actors and an interesting story-line, but it has “invalid” qualities that keeps it from blasting off. By invalid qualities, I mean little character arcs, lack of action, and repetitive scenes.

I give Gattaca a rating of 1.5 out of four stars.


One Response to “Movie Review- Gattaca”

  1. fuglsang on November 27, 2016 9:43 pm

    The lead works, Rachael. It lets the reader know where you stand.

    You do well on most parts of the review. The factual details are fine, as is the review of what worked and what didn’t. Where you need some practice is on the plot summary. Just as an example, you write, “the protagonist Vincent, who possesses invalid genes, so he is not pure enough to go into outer-space.” This is pretty early in the summary, and I don’t know what valid/invalid means, and how it relates to space travel. This might be a case where you move away from the language of the movie and just explain it your way.

    The third-to-last graf could have been much higher. A discussion of theme might have led into the plot summary.

    Waste ≠ Waist

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