Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Welcome To Gattaca

Andrew Niccol’s Gattaca is one of the unique insights into the not too distant future. Niccol’s narrative structure gives a Film Noir with a feeling of a Sci-Fi genre, combine both genres and you get Tech Noir. Having this genre as the main structure of the film you get both elements of Film Noir with; silhouetted figures, somewhat a feeling of the 1940’s to 60’s and a visual style of a low key black and white theme but in colour. The Sci-Fi element is the technology that is used in the film but not too distant in the future. The futuristic cars look like there from the 1960’s but with a 2011 hybrid electric engine. Niccol’s design of the world is having a 1960’s black and white film transformed into colour and replacing same technology with future technology but still having the 1960’s theme. Niccol’s theme juxtapositions both the past and future and combining them into the Gattaca world with futuristic buildings that look like architecture from the 1950’s.

Gattaca is a perfect example of character development between the “Valid” Jerome (Jude Law) and the “In-Valid” Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke). Vincent the “In-Valid” protagonist achieves his goals in the perfect “Valid” world of Gattaca. Niccol’s genetically perfect world of Gattaca is illustrated by every citizen’s perfect genetics, where a citizen gene is discriminated and that; nationality, colour or social status is no longer a problem “I belonged to a new underclass, no longer determined by social status or the colour of your skin. No, we now have discrimination down to a science”. Gattaca explores the very idea of wanting to be born perfect or being engineered to perfection. The film juggles between the human spirit and will to succeed against the idea of what makes the perfect human. If we want to get deeper into this one can say this film is perfect example of “Science VS God”.  Science being that we as human have created a better way of generating humans then God does. We as humans have the option to choose the best of our selves “Remember this child is still you, simply the best of you”. Through God we don’t have the option to choose. All we have is chance and hope the offspring gets the best DNA.


The protagonist Vincent is classified as a “faith birth” or a “God child” that is conceived without the aid of technology making him an “In-Valid” in a world where everything is formed around the human perfection. Vincent’s character is seemed as an outcast but his development through the story shows that he is the only seeming character that achieves the most. This is most seen with other characters that’s classified as a “Valid”; Vincent’s brother Anton and his friend Jerome. Anton the genetically formed brother is seen as the golden child “A son my father considered worthy of his name” always won the game of chicken. Vincent beats his brother one day showing a step forward to his dream and allowing the protagonist to embark on his journey of success. Jerome’s character is seen as the perfect example of human perfection “The guy is practically going to live forever, got an IQ off the register and got a heart of an ox. He can run through a wall”. Though Jerome’s character is the perfect genetic human he is seen as the unfortunate character that suffers the most. Winning only a silver medal and becoming deeply depressed “Jerome Morrow was never meant to be one step down on the podium. For all I had going for me I was still second best.” His character is juxtapositioning itself by being a genetically flawless but being paralyzed from the wise down by trying to commit suicide “I stepped right in front of it, I’ve never been more sober in my life but I couldn’t even get that right could I”. By comparing Vincent and the rest of the “Valid Characters” yes Jerome and his brother Anton are all genetically perfect however their emotional and spirituality somewhat destroyed in the process of become perfect. Jerome became deeply depressed and tried to commit suicide, Anton never could let down that his genetically un-engineered brother beat and saved him. Even Director Josef (Gore Vidal) committed a murder something that not every human can do but yet a perfect born human has committed a brutal murder. At the start of film when we are introduced to Vincent we see the commissioner beaten to death and we are lead to believe that Vincent did it because of how he was born.

The last scene sums up the final character development of both Vincent and Jerome. When Vincent heads towards his launch site he is stopped by a last unexpected urine test. When he has to gives his own urine test the results comes as his true identity as an “In-Valid”. Lamar (The physician who always conducted Vincent’s test) always knew since the first day he came in “For future reference, right handed men don't hold it with their left”, changing the urine result from “In-Valid” to “Valid”. This is a final reminder to the viewers that Vincent the; genetically imperfect, unwanted and had no future succeeded when the other genetically perfect humans like Jerome or Anton were somewhat outdone by Vincent. Anton was saved by Vincent from drowning and Jerome in the end committed suicide, leaving Vincent only a lock of his hair. To some degree even though Vincent never felt like he was meant for this world he will miss it “for someone that was never meant for this world I must confess I’m having hard time leaving it”. With this end result we see that the imperfect Vincent succeeds when the perfect Jerome doesn’t. Looking back at the start how “Science VS God” looking at the outcome of the film we see that with all the perfections it never could stand a chance against a genetically inferior man and his dream.

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