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Gattaca

Year: 1997
Studio: Columbia
Director: Andrew Niccol
Producer: Danny DeVito
Writer: Andrew Niccol
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Jude Law, Elias Koteas, Ernest Borgnine, Gore Vidal
Andrew Niccol is one of the great unrecognised filmmakers of our generation. Each one of his films has been entertaining, extremely well made, and says something both urgent and compelling about our society.

In Gattaca, he prophesises the future where discrimination on the basis of genetics has resulted in a perfectly ordered and safe society where everybody is positioned according to their abilities, but where there is no room for dreaming about greater things than you are. Before they're born, people like Vincent (Hawke) are given a station in life, one they'll never exceed.

But as the tagline says, there is no gene for the human spirit, and Gattaca is a warning against trying to live according to the strictures of science when we still don't understand the science behind what makes us individuals and gives us hope, love, fear and despair.

A lowly janitor, Vincent sets about manipulating the all-pervasive system to pose as someone else in the hope it will allow him to work for the Gattaca corporation, a firm investing in space research which launches seven missions a day from their futuristic headquarters.

Along the way he has to hide his true identity from Irene (Thurman) even while falling in love with her, dodge the cop on his tail (Koteas), and enlist the help of the enigmatic Jerome (Law).

One of the most astounding aspects of Gattaca is the production design. It could have been another computer-inspired future of blinking lights and banks of monitors, but few films present such a jaw-dropping future in the design of architecture. The contours and colours of Gattaca's world are stark, clinical, and slightly sinister.

Brilliant in every respect.

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