The first statement out of my mouth after this not-too-distant-future film?"That director had to be British." It certainly seemed a safe bet -- what other nationality takes such joy in being dull and plodding? So let me just say that I was shocked -- shocked I tell you -- to discover that writer/director Andrew Niccol was born in New Zealand. However, further investigation revealed an explanation: Niccol moved to London to become a writer and director of commercials. Apparently being British is something you can catch. God help us if it spreads like Ebola.
In the world of "Gattaca," humans have taken the idea of perfection one step too far. Science now uses genetic engineering to manufacture human beings by factoring out disease and defects right after conception. However, some people still choose to have children the old-fashioned way, despite the fact that such children are known as "in-valids" and generally enjoy a life of discrimination and janitorial work.
Vincent (Ethan Hawke) is just such a person, but he has a dream of flying a rocket into space, an ambition he pursues by buying somebody else's identity from a DNA broker (Tony Shalhoub). The unlucky donor is Jerome Eugene Morrow (Jude Law), a perfect specimen who succumbed to a tragic accident that left him paralyzed. The maintenance of Vincent's secret is no easy task, especially when his supervisor is murdered, the cops find one of Vincent's eyelashes and he becomes involved with a beautiful co-worker (Uma Thurman).
Besides being extremely slow, this film plays so heavily on people's fear of a science they don't understand, it's almost laughable. No matter how much we apply genetics to social engineering, the culture of "Gattaca" will never emerge -- it's simply impossible. But Niccol wants us to believe it's dangerous to even investigate the possibilities and that's just crap. Imagine the advances in humanity that could take place with genetic engineering. Driving back from the theater, I realized that they could start by removing the gene that compelled the moron in the Geo in front of me to drive 40 mph in the left lane. Altering that guy and every idiot like him would clearly be the first step to a better world.
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