Tuesday, March 11, 2008

REVIEW: Gattaca


Year: 1997
Director: Andrew Niccol
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Jude Law, Elias Koteas, Xander Berkeley
Distributor: Columbia Pictures
MPAA: Rated PG-13

Gattaca is more than 10 years old, yet SCI-FI fans around the world still remember it even to this day. Gattaca isn't a movie I would have normally watched. I never heard about the film until this one day, my science teacher brought it over to watch. It was the only movie in that whole class that I actually enjoyed and found fascinating. After that day, I went out and did alittle research on it so I can learn more about it. After so many years of waiting, Sony finally brought Gattaca out on a special edition DVD with the video and audio remastered. I took that chance to finally give this movie a review.

Plot Outline:
Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke) is a natural birth or "In-valid", living in a world in which people forged in test tubes rule society. Determined to break out of his imperfect genetic destiny and fulfil his dreams, Vincent meets Jerome Morrow (Jude Law), a "Valid" willing to sell his prime genetic material for cash. Using Jerome's blood, urine, skin and hair samples, Vincent is able to forge a new identity and pursue his goal of a mission to space with the Gattaca Aerospace Corporation and enjoy a blossoming romance with Irene (Uma Thurman), another "Valid". However, a week before his flight, a Gattaca mission director is brutally murdered and Vincent finds himself pursued by a relentless investigator threatening to expose his counterfeit life and reveal him as "In-valid", ending his dreams forever.

The story of Gattaca is great. I didn't expect my science teacher to have good taste in movies, but I really enjoyed Gattaca. The plot is interesting and certainly has moments where your guessing whats going to happen next. This is one of those underrated films that not alot of people go see because they don't know what it is about, yet it still garners alot of fans that still appreciate this film. The SCI-FI elements in the film are hardly mind blowing yet they the film makers manage to pull it off really good. The characters are very believable to watch and spark many interests that I found curious. Make no mistake, this film is very character driven so don't expect any high flying action scenes just because its a SCI-FI film. The movies 1 hour and 46 minutes does the film justice by closing in a way that the audience was expecting. All in all, I very much loved the story of Gattaca simply because it doesn't try hard like many other films in the same genre.

The cast of Gattaca is good in many ways. Ethan Hawke plays as Vincent Freeman and he gives a great performance that I found very enjoyable. Its certainly up their with some of the best performances he has given yet. Uma Thurman plays as Irene Cassini and although shes pretty good in her role, shes kind of underused so her performance is also underused. We also have Jude Law playing as Jerome Eugene Morrow and he gives a pretty good performance. I wouldn't say its his best performance ever, but its definitely up their with some of his best work. Xander Berkeley plays as Dr. Lamar, but his character is mostly in the the background as Vincent is mainly the star of the movie. Elias Koteas plays as Antonio Freeman and he gives a pretty good performance. Hes mostly in the last half of the movie, but he still plays an important role in the movie.

The visual look of the movie is pretty good. Sony recently remastered this film in high definition so it could release it side by side with the Blu Ray version. With that said, the image look much cleaner than the previous DVD versions. The image is also alot sharper in terms of clarity. Detail is pretty high with alot of the movie looking razor sharp. Gattaca isn't a film that's going to blow your friends away as a demo material since the movie doesn't offer any CGI cut scenes that are worth watching. The director chose to stay close to the present, but also add a touch of the future. In the end, the film looks wonderful for its age and a really good job on Sony's behalf.

The movie has a wonderful score that is composed by Michael Nyman. I thought the score was well built for this movie and definitely sounded like it belonged their. The problem with the soundtrack is that their only seems to be the film's score. I wasn't able to detect any other music or orchestral work that was played in the movie. This isn't really a good thing because it limits the film to its score only rather than the score and some other music. Gattaca also has some pretty good bass work. A movie like this that's heavily focused on its dialogue that also features bass usage is pretty impressive to me. Since the movie consists of alot of dialogue, its nice to see the voice work is very clear and fluid. I'm glad Gattaca has a good score to back its great story, but it also saddens me to see the film being limited to its score only.

Gattaca is a great film that is still enjoyable even to this day. The story is great with its somewhat complex plot and gets interesting from chapter to chapter. The cast is good for the most part with some of them giving exceptional performances while others being underused. The visual look of the film has been remastered and handled very well by the team at Sony. The soundtrack is also pretty good with the film boasting a good score even though that's the only thing your going to get. I want to thank my previous science teacher Mr. West for introducing my class and I to Gattaca because if it weren't for him, I wouldn't have been able to catch this film. Its amazing how well Gattaca holds up even to this day. I can recommend this film to SCI-FI fans.

Grade: B-

No comments: