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This science-fiction thriller is set at a time when we all fall into two categories: Valids and In-Valids, determined by the perfection (or imperfection) of our genetic make up which can be chosen at conception. Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke) is an In-Valid, born with a weak heart and other genetic defects. To fulfil his dream of space travel, he outwits the authorities and assumes a Valid identity to join the futuristic Gattaco Corporation to become a navigator. In an elaborate and complex manner, Vincent uses the genetic make-up of a champion swimmer, crippled in an accident, and fools everyone. At Gattaca, Vincent and Irene (Uma Thurman) who has her own accidental genetic defect, become involved in a relationship just before Vincent is due to blast off into space. However, when Gattaca director (Gore Vidal) is murdered, Vincentís eyelash is found at the murder scene and his identity is put under intense scrutiny. But while all the odds are against him, there is no gene for the human spirit, which holds the key to Vincentís fate.

"Gattaca is essentially a story about a dream and fulfilling it against all odds. It is an original, imaginative and inspiring story of courage and determination, set at a time when a single strand of hair or a drop of blood can reveal everything. Andrew Niccol has brought the issue of genetic engineering to life in a beguiling way, in this intriguing premise when gene superiority is essential to success. With an aura of calm and stillness about him, Ethan Hawke is enigmatic as Vincent. He has a Tom Cruise-like presence, and combines the complexities of strong willed, determined Vincent, for whom the sky is no limit. Jude Law is impressive as the despondent Jerome, who lends his genetically impressive body; Uma Thurmanís cool, angular beauty lends itself well to what is essentially an unemotional role. Michael Nymanís renown repetitive musical phrases, so beautifully lyrical in The Piano, are overbearingly heavy and irritate here. This is in total contrast artistically to the stunning minimalist, classic but stark lines in the production design, which create a feeling of evolution and timelessness. A perfect example of less is more, this complements the filmís many subtleties. Slow to start, Gattaca is an interesting and thought provoking film that lingers in the psyche."
Louise Keller

"Gattaca is the kind of film one dearly wants to love. A fascinating premise, this, full of the stuff great films are made of. Unfortunately, despite the interesting premise, the film is a pretentious bore, an over intellectual treatise into the psychology of the issues raised, yet never succeeding in getting to the heart of the movie. The filmís cold, dark design, almost in black and white with its muted colours, fits in well with its equally cold and distant tone. Everything about Gattaca is cold and distant, so by its conclusion, one has a sense that weíve never gotten to know its characters. Ethan Hawke has tremendous presence, but here he seems out of place, much like his character one supposes. His performance lacks clarity and direction, and one never feels intimate with this guy. Thurman is worse. Following her showy work on the otherwise stilted Batman and Robin, here she is drab to extremes. Itís a dull, insipid performance creating little spark between these two actors (one hopes that their real-life romance is more interesting). Gattaca is a case of plenty of style, no substance, despite its clever intentions. Had the film not taken itself so dreadfully seriously, it might have been a more adept sample of a fascinating genre, instead of a fatuous one."
Paul Fischer

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CAST: Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Alan Arkin, Gore Vidal, Jude Law, Loren Dean, Ernest Borgnine

PRODUCERS: Danny De Vito, Michael Shamberg, Stacey Sher

DIRECTOR: Andrew Niccol

SCRIPT: Andrew Niccol


EDITOR: Lisa Zeno Churgin

MUSIC: Michael Nymans


RUNNING TIME: 106 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 6, 1997

AWARDS: Best picture - Catalan International Film Festival, Spain;

Video Release: Feb 2, 1999
Video Distributor: Col TriStar

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