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Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> May 1998 >> Gattaca


Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
4 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Dates on Record:
May 1998, May 1999
IMDB Name:
Gattaca (1997)
Andrew Niccol
sci-fi, suspense
MPAA Rating:
PG-13 for brief violent images, language and some sexuality.

The Not-So Distant Past

Gattaca is set in "the not-too-distant future". The set design is a strange and wonderful combination of styles from the past, but unlike real life, one style permeates the film. The architecture, furniture, clothing, and automobiles harken back. This decision works exceedingly well because the undiluted style looks like a strictly regimented utopia. Without any great effort to envision a future world, set decorator Nancy Nye and production designer Jan Roelfs did an excellent job, even earning the film's only Oscar nomination.


The opening strains of the score are poignant and haunting. The opening visual, a new perspective on preening, is equally affecting, and the movie never lets up after that. Michael Nyman composed the score, and stuck largely to atmospheric strings. The cinematography, by Slavomir Idziak, is heavily slanted towards earthy hues. The combination is just wonderful, I tell you!

Ethan Élan

I'd like to diverge for a moment and mention that I didn't enjoy Reality Bites. I wanted desperately for Lelaina to sell out and end up with Michael. Since everyone expects her to end up with Troy, which would be the artsy and impractical thing to do. I was sure, though, that this movie was so hell-bent on irony that it would provide the only non-Hollywood ending for the movie, but it didn't happen that way, so I was bitter. Fiction can bite, too.

Anyway, that was my only exposure to Ethan Hawke before Gattaca. How's that for the wrong thing to base an opinion on? I love his performance as the perpetually paranoid protagonist. His face always subtly shows the pressure on him to maintain his facade perfectly.

DVD Comments

The Gattaca disc has a few interesting offerings: a poster gallery, a photo gallery, and deleted scenes. Neither of the galleries are particularly compelling given the poor resolution of the average television. The deleted scenes show good judgment on the part of the director and editor, because none of them would've added to the movie. The scenes of extra sentimentality between Vincent and Caesar are particularly welcome omissions. The overly-preachy coda would also have spoiled the ending. The trailer is bundled with a short making-of vignette. I didn't notice anything wrong with the video quality of the movie proper, but the opening quotes are difficult to read in the letterbox presentation. The menus are mostly done well, with the exception of the deleted scenes menu which uses red text and is very hard on the eyes.

See the IMDB information on Gattaca's DVD or compare prices at DVD Price Search.

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Copyright 1998-2001 by Scott Ventura. All rights reserved.