Set in the near future, Gattaca follows the life of Vincent, a normal person conceived and born as you or I. In this future world however, Vincent is not normal, he is a faith birth, a God-child, despised and discriminated against in a world of people genetically engineered for success, including his brother, Anton. Because he is not engineered his career prospects are limited, but Vincent is not satisfied cleaning toilets, he wants to go into space, and the only way to get around the pervasive genetic screening of this future society is to go into hiding and become a "borrowed ladder", otherwise known as a degenerate. An underworld intermediary connects Vincent with Jerome Morrow, an angry wheelchair bound recluse who has the genes to work at Gattaca, but not the ambition. Jerome loans Vincent his genes by way of blood, hair, urine and tissue samples while Vincent provides the income.
Gattaca is a very subtle movie. Although a central theme of the movie is spaceflight in the future, it has virtually no special effects. For example, employees of Gattaca board the spaceship not in spacesuits, but in their normal workclothes, business suits. The lack of effects was meant to keep your attention on the story. The word Gattaca is constructed of four letters, G, A, T and C signifying the four amino acids that make up the genetic information in DNA, Guanine, Adenine, Thymine and Cytosine. A subtle touch that goes undiscovered by many.
Another very subtle flair is the massive staircase that adorns the apartment that Vincent and Jerome share. It is not a spiral staircase but rather a helical staircase.
Years after this movie came out I made a connection that seems to point out this movies inspriation. In January of 1964 CBS aired a Twilight Zone titled "The Long Morrow" about a single minded, heroic astronaut who is given a mission to fly to a distant planet. The trip will take 40 years, but he is to be placed in hibernation for the voyage. Just before he leaves, he meets the love of his life, Sandy (played by Marriett Hartley). He was all set to go, but now he is torn between his love of Sandy and his enthusiasm for the mission. The parallels with Gattaca are unmistakeable. Vincent wants to leave for Titan, partly to get off the earth to avoid the rampant discrimination, and yet days before he leaves, he falls head over heels in love with Irene. He actually says that he "worked so hard to leave the place and now he's found a reason to stay", to be with Irene. Although his trip will only last a year, "It's only once around the Sun" as Irene puts it, Vincent is not planning on making it back to earth. His heart condition is serious enough it's likely he'll die before he gets back.A big clue in this connection is in Jerome's last name, Morrow. This is almost certainly an attempt to pay homage to Rod Serling's "The Long Morrow".
Last update April 26 2007