"There is no gene for the human spirit." This is the TAG line of the movie Gattaca, a film that searches deep within the heart of man. This is one of Ethan Hawke's strongest performances as a man who refuses to trust the odds, and relies on fate and sheer will to achieve his dreams. He borrows the body of a man without dreams, played by Jude Law in his best performance to date as well. Law simply captures every scene with his sly intelligence and deeply darkened soul. He has no illusions about life, or himself, and he is the perfect counterpoint to Hawke's unrelenting dreamer.
The performances only enhance, however, a wonderful script by first time writer/director Andrew Niccol. It deals with science fiction and the future in the best way, by exploring ideas. He quickly and easily presents a future not unimaginable, and truly existing in a "not-too-distant future." Genetic engineering is happening today all the time in areas outside the human species, and sometimes within. How long will it take before the gloves are taken off and science truly starts to decide the type of people humanity will become? What issues will be addressed when that time comes? Niccol addresses many of them already, mostly dealing with the discrimination that would probably take place in society. The most subtle and yet important question he asks though is whether a man is truly the sum of his genes, or could his spirit somehow carry him beyond all expectations? Such thoughts are dealt with through intelligent characters given intelligent diolague and placed with intelligent situations. It is interesting how such a thoughtful picture can be at time a real thriller to watch as well.
Gattaca is one of my favorite movies because it is not afraid to address important issues that are truly current in modern day society, and do it with great thought and heart. It wisely stresses the subtle theological questions of whether man ought to tamper with God's work, and whether the result would be a better society, or a better humanity.