This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Monday, June 06, 2011


Gattaca made the ICS Top 100 1990s film at #84. I was surprised to see this entry when I reviewed this list because I remember when the movie came out and it didn't get great reviews. What I do remember most about this movie is that this is the movie that Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman met and fell in love.

I am not a big science fiction fan. I got this off Netflix as a DVD and held on to it for months. And I end up watching it on one of my movie channels...

Tim thought it was a piece of poopy. I didn't think it was that bad. I certainly didn't think it was one of the top 100 flicks of the 90s...but it wasn't that bad.

The premise is pretty interesting...

...a baby is born in the not so distant future. Upon birth, listing is made of the baby's genetic future. This particular baby, Vincent, is that he has a birth defect and will die by age 30.2 years. This devastates his parents, who end up coddling young Vincent throughout his upbringing. When they decide to have a second child, they work with a geneticist who is able to manipulate the genes in order to "conceive" the perfect, healthy child. Anton is born and bears his father's name, along with mom and dad's accolades.

Vincent's dream is to be an astronaut. But because of his genetic outcome - that is made public in this 'not-so-distant-future' - he is labeled as an "in-valid" and, much like a caste system, is relegated to never excelling beyond being a janitor...or as Vincent's dad told him, the only thing he would see of a space ship is cleaning the interior.

Vincent decides to hire someone who provides him with a different identity. This comes in the form of Jerome, who is genetically perfect: an excellent swimmer who ends up paralyzed from the waist down due to being hit by a car. It is implied, to me, that perhaps this was a suicide attempt gone wrong.

Jerome is alive and well (but in a wheelchair) and sells his identity, including his blood, urine, hair and skin cells, in order for Vincent to have his identity.

Every day, Vincent scrubs his body with a buffer to buff all his skin cells, applies fake finger "skins" with blood globules underneath, to his own fingers, and wears a urine bag for any random urine tests, at the futuristic "NASA". Everything is going perfect for Vincent, AKA Jerome, until the Director of the next space mission (that Vincent is slated to go up for) is found murdered. Vincent's eyelash fell close to the scene, and due to the fact that part of evidence gathering during this future era, vacuuming everything and analyzing all the lint, skin cells, hair, nails, and eyelashes that come into the vacuum is part of gathering evidence, Vincent's eyelash sends alerts that an "in-valid" was around a "valid-only" area...and Vincent becomes the leading suspect.

This is the gist of the movie and the plot, on paper, is much more interesting than what the movie delivers. I definitely wouldn't put this movie ahead of "Seven", which is one of my favorites and shows up at #92 on this list.

Ethan Hawke was pretty amazing in this movie. In so many of his films, he's just a brooding, moody guy. In this one, he actually smiles. And he looks well-kept...and pretty darn hot. Uma plays a secondary character, although a main role, and she looks amazing as ever. I remember an interview with Ethan Hawke, after he and Uma married, where he said he never really saw Uma as beautiful...and then he watched this movie and thought "yeah, she is beautiful". I think this turned me off to Ethan forever because, how could one not see how beautiful Uma is???

So an interesting movie...I don't regret seeing it...the storyline is fun to retell. But definitely not on my top 100, or top 500, or top 1000, or top 2000...or...


  1. Dearest Cindy,
    You know this is one of my all-time favorites for many, many, many reasons. I take exception to "This is the gist of the movie and the plot, on paper, is much more interesting than what the movie delivers" phhhhffff...
    Please....not only is the story concrete sci-fi because it takes something that is possible now and puts it in some futuristic dystopia where is possible to turn off the genes that cause horrible disease, of course if screening for the horrible genetic diseases makes sense, and if we know which genes make someone intelligent, or naturally athletic, it only makes sense to switch those on as well, par for the course. It’s the sort of thing that makes absolute sense in a vacuum-cum dystopia.

    The movie delivers not only on the basic plot but on character development because although a bit cliché the film’s characters state that willpower has a greater role in success than the given designer DNA. You know: hard work and heart delivers, greatness hinges on will… we never see Vincent’s greatness until we see Jerome’s weakness –this, my friend, you won’t see in some Disney crap version of a movie that may also throw in Uma’s boobs and a couple of complimentary explosions…

    Further still, the movie is full of just so many memorable scenes: Vincent waking almost blind across the road… Vincent backstroking with his brother in his arms a SECOND FREAKING TIME and then the clouds clearing to reveal the STARS!
    Shit this is a film -not some June - July popcorn transformer oh my god… Shia LaBeouf is sooo dreamy crap!
    your friend,
    -ricardo c

  2. You make some great points, Rico. I may have mislead my post.

    I didn't hate it and I might admit that my husband's quip about it being horrible probably made me level down the movie.

    It was a very interesting premise and, like you, I agree at how closely it seems to being a possible reality.

    And like you, I liked that Vincent proved that he could be successful despite his genetic disadvantages.

    After a few days, I can't stop thinking about it, so there is a bit of an impact.

    But I think the story between Vincent and Uma, Vincent and Jerome, and especially, Vincent and his perfectly genetically created brother Anton, could have gone deeper.

    I would NEVER EVER want to offend you, my dear Rico. I can honestly see why this movie could be seen as a great one...just not one of the greatest of the 90s. :)

  3. ha, np. my wife called it gattaboring!
    good movies keep you thinking of the story well after the ending.
    you know, i visited a list of the best 90's movies and yep there were a few I liked: fight club, clerks... lets give gattaca an honorable mention. if you limit the list to sci-fi then, gattaca should be up there with eXistenZ and the matrix.
    glad to read your cogitations (ithesaurus)... keep them coming!