movie review by Christopher Null

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I'd been looking forward to Gattaca since its clever promotions began several months ago, promising a story of a future-gone-wrong, a time when ethnic prejudice has given way to something even more frightening: genetic discrimination. It's in this setting that the genetically-inferior Vincent (played by Ethan Hawke) tries to advance his station by assuming the identity of Jerome (played by the creepy Jude Law), and putting the moves on the also-flawed Irene (Uma Thurman).

Everything goes well for a while, and just as Vincent is about to realize his dream of going up as part of a space mission, the web starts to untangle. Here's where the problems of Gattaca start: you see, as a mystery, it really isn't much of one. The investigation into the murder of the mission director who may have known Vincent's secret is never very focused, and Alan Arkin's "Columbo"-type flatfoot seems to uncannily know where to go at every turn. By the time the investigation is over, the whole thing has felt like a put-on to waste an hour of screen time.

On the other hand, Gattaca succeeds quite well at making us feel like this could really happen. Director Andrew Niccol has put beaucous work into the set and costume designs, and the yellowish lighting makes Gattaca a real creep-out. As a cautionary tale about not messing with Mother Nature, Gattaca is similarly successful, if obvious about it.

This movie is great if you're looking for more of 1984 than Star Trekfor your brand of future-shock... and if you're willing to believe that Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman are flawed in any way, Gattaca's definitely your cup of tea.

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