GATTACA is a good-enough genetic-engineering thriller, set in the 
not-too-distant future, where a daring young janitor (Ethan Hawke) 
is determined to become an astronaut, despite his having a set of 
genes that precludes any participation in the space program.  (In 
this far-from-far-fetched future world, a job interview involves 
little more than a blood test.)  With an assist from his friendly 
neighborhood black-marketeer (Tony Shalhoub), he adopts the iden-
tity of another young man (Jude Law), a crippled-but-otherwise-okay 
lookalike whose record doesn't reflect a broken back, and who can 
provide the requisite samples of blood, skin, hair, and urine.  And 
everything works wonders until a murder happens at Mission Control 
and the resulting cell-by-cell sweep of the scene yields a certain 
person's eyelash.  Ouch.  As a cautionary tale of science-we'll-
soon-see, GATTACA is endlessly intriguing.  As a sci-fi potboiler, 
however, it just ain't suspenseful enough.  The characters are 
stronger than you might expect, but writer/director Andrew Niccol 
doesn't put 'em through nearly enough paces.  (The climax is... a 
swim chase!?)  And then there are those nagging story details, like 
business suits worn aboard rocket ships.  Or that urine sample at 
the beginning.  (How *does* Hawke's character fake it, with the 
doctor right there staring at his schlong?  You got me...)  With 
Uma Thurman, Alan Arkin, Loren Dean, Ernest Borgnine and, looking 
completely out of place, Gore Vidal.  Splendidly stark production 
design, too, by Jan Roelfs.  (Rated "R"/112 min.)

Grade: C+

Copyright 1997 Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies as MOVIE HELL: Genes and a T-Shirt

Home   |   Recommended   |   Reviews   |   Views   |   Letters   |   Links   |   FAQ   |   Search!

Please report problems to
Copyright 2001 by Michael J. Legeros -Movie Hell™ is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros