Movie Reviews

DVD Review: “GATTACA (Special Edition)”

(Sony. 1997/2008. Rated PG-13 for brief violent images, language, and some sexuality. 106 minutes. Color. Widescreen. Written and directed by Andrew Niccol.) Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Jude Law, Gore Vidal, Alan Arkin, Ernest Borgnine, Tony Shalhoub. Music by Michael Nyman.

Beautiful film gets a welcome reissue and looks great on home video, remastered in high definition. Set in the near future, Gattaca is a cautionary tale about the dangers of genetic engineering. Hawke is one of the last “natural” beings born into an increasingly-artificial world; he doesn’t have the pre-ordered DNA that will guarantee him future success. His dream is space travel, and the only way he can accomplish that is by borrowing the name – and DNA – of someone else. He enters into a deal with a genetically-superior athlete (Law), assuming his identity, and attracts the attention of a stunning co-worker (Thurman). All is well…for a while. Amazing production design, compelling story, good performances (it was Law’s first American film), great score. Niccol, a New Zealander, wrote the script for The Truman Show and wanted to direct it, but the experienced Peter Weir got the job; so Niccol made this movie instead. He’s also the scriptwriter behind The Terminal, S1m0ne, and Lord of War; he’s currently working on a movie about Salvador Dali. Should be interesting. Extras on the Gattaca DVD include new interviews with Hawke and Law, plus featurettes and deleted scenes. A modern-day science-fiction classic.

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