Vincent Freeman (interesting last name) is a God Child conceived on the Riviera. The car, that is.
Gattaca is Science Fiction Drama at its finest; a little bit out there and a whole lot believable. Released in 1998, this film still seems fresh. Somehow, Sci-Fi isn’t supposed to seem believable after 14 years. Back to the Riviera. Vincent’s (Ethan Hawke) parents created a God Child in a time when genetic engineering was “just what you did” if you could afford it. He had flaws compared to what he could have been. His brother born a little later got the advantage, a better genetic quotient.
Vincent spent his life comparing himself to his brother and striving against all odds for a different life. He dreamed of breaking free from society’s constraints and traveling into space. His vision was to be a Navigator for the Gattaca Corporation.
Problem One … Navigators had to be “Valids”. If you were one of the natural born minority, there was no future in space flight. Enters Tony Shalhoub, under the radar, DNA Broker and Jerome Morrow (Jude Law), a “Valid” with a broken body.
I am so tempted to tell you how they did it, but I won’t. Vincent aka Jerome is accepted at Gattaca and begins to prepare for his space journey. Boy meets girl, Uma Thurman, who also works for Gattaca. His “Valid” brother also comes into the picture creating the tension a good movie needs. New Zealand screenwriter Andrew Niccol has his Directorial debut along with Alan Arkin who also acts in this film.
One of the things I thought kind of creepy was the automaton aspect of the employees of Gattaca. They dressed alike, talked alike and almost looked alike. As they entered the building they went through a type of turn-style that pricked their fingers for a blood sample to determine their validity. This is an environment that one eyelash could give away a ruse.
Gattaca is so morally complex; I’m not sure where to start. Can anyone spell HITLER? Have you read about the work of Planned Parenthood in the Appalachians? Eugenics is an evil thing. That is one woman’s perspective. Designer children are an abomination to God. He doesn’t make junk and I think anyone who ever raised a handicapped child would agree. Vincent’s parents believed that a child of love would be happier so they put their faith in God’s hands. Then the specialists started talking to them about what could be done to improve their next child. The genetic engineering vs. education and experience is one topic still bandied about depending on what social circles you enjoy. I truly understand wanting what is best for your child. In some cities people are vying for a slot in a pre-school before their child is born. (So much for Big Bird!) We have a Creator who fashions perfect specimens every day, every minute.
I would ask a bigger question. What “validates” you? Do people validate you? Does your degree on the wall or money in the bank validate you? Hmmm. The movie starts with a quote on the screen, “Consider what God has done; who can straighten what He has made crooked?” This isn’t fatalism but a reminder of who God is. So, to quote Vincent at the beginning of this movie, “How perfect does your child have to be?”
I write, but it is perfectly okay to push back. Either way, watch the movie and tell me what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org.