Gattaca: Film Overview

T H E   N O T  –  T O O  –  D I S T A N T   F U T U R E

    “I not only think that we will tamper with

              Mother Nature, I think Mother wants us to.”

                                William Gaylin

“Confidently conceived and brilliantly executed, Gattaca had a somewhat low profile release in 1997, but audiences and critics hailed the film’s originality.”


Vincent is born the old-fashioned way, no genetics improvement. His parents love him but feel sorry for his lack of capability. They have another child – this time an improved human by genetics manipulation. Vincent soon realizes his parents feel the superiority of Anton, his brother. He feels erased by the family – as he shows when he erases his name from the measuring tape. 

Vincent always thought he was the failure. He and his brother used to swin far from the shore and the first one to become afraid and come back was the loser. Vincent was always the loser. Until a turning point, when he could beat his brother, once in his lifetime and it was enough to prove himself he was not worse than his sibling. 

Vincent has the dream to become a flier who goes to other planets, however his genetic chart won’t allow him, once he is an underdeveloped man, a regular born with no given enhancement. Once he has this dream he is willing to do everything possible to reach his goal, even though he is an invalid to permeate the Gattaca.

The answer he finds is to change identity with Jerome, a high standard in terms of DNA which is not able to walk anymore due to an accident. Jerome provides all the samples needed for vincent to unlock all doors, as he pretends to be his accomplished fellow. 

One person is murdered in Gattaca and the investigation finds an invalid genetic sample on the laboratory, what leads to intermittent examination in the search of the intrusive man who stepped into a place he was not allowed to go. The sample inspection shows it belongs to Vincent, a man who worked there before as a cleaner but is now long “dead”.

Many situations happen in order to put Vincent’s true identity in check but he manages to escape all with relative success, always giving chance for more suspect around him. A detective starts combing the personnel for suspects. While all this happens he still finds the impetus to embrace a charming romance with his colleague, Irene, Uma Thurman (Uow).

By the end Vincent faces the chief detective of the murder case, which happens to be no less than his own brother.  When they inevitably confronted each other the two of them finally decided to have a last swimming competition, in which not so surprisingly Vincent won. “I never saved anything for the swim back” said him justifying his stagger victory. This quote provides us an insight of the astonishing endurance Vincent represents. Intelligence, genetics, talent, were all secondary to hard work and practice for him.

Now, why did Jerome accepted to provide all the samples so Vincent could achieve his goal. “ I lent you my body, you lend me your dream.” stated Jerome by the end of the movie. Jerome looks up to Vincent for doing something that he could never do, rise above limitations to become the best.

Technoscience in Contemporary Film: Beyond Science Fiction
By Aylish Wood

With the big help of Jerome and Dr. Lamar (a theory suggest they are father and son, maybe?), and his tremendous willpower, Vincent achieves his supreme goal: to reach space. What happens next? Well, you know, he has a poor heart condition. By the end, his body echoing the “I never saved anything for the swim back” line. This time though, Vincent knew there would be no swim back. He did everything he could in order to surpass his curbed genetics. Had him spent all his stamina to accomplish that, he had nothing left to return. Is that what the film reveals us, whatsoever our background we can achieve anything we wish? Or wanted it to state that genetics validation was indeed correct, once only a few selected ones could ever bare the fearful depth of open space?

The movie awakened me the question: “Is External Determinism true?” Are we born with a predestined fate? Not only genetics, but also location, social status and family structure might be pivotal to one’s advancement. To what extend is this accurate? Another questioning: “How close are we to the genetics manipulation scenario pictured on the movie?” Maybe not that close, certainly not that far. How can moral and ethics deal with it? Wouldn’t we be genial to live in a world with enhanced being? Less complication, less sickness and suffering. But also, wouldn’t us be made in a mold, defined by no one less than an other vulnerable mortal. Should diversity really die in order “to cure” all our main misfortunes?

Will new discoveries in genetic science so completely explain human behavior that the freedom we previously thought we had will turn out to be a delusion?

Should human race become deliberate about the future of its own evolution?

“Science in the service of beneficence ought not to be intimidated by a ‘No Tresspassing’sign that says, “Thou shalt not play God.” Rather, science in the service of beneficence means we are playing human in a free and responsible way.”

Last but not least, I must certainly remember you to listen once more to this picture’s fantastic soundtrack. The darker vintage cinematograph combined with amusing music by Michael Nyman is decidedly a must watch.

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