Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Gattaca

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

**** SPOILER WARNING *******

I just saw this movie again after a long time - and I loved it this time, although my reaction to it was only lukewarm the last time I saw it! I am surprised at how fantastic this movie is, and what a great sense of life it has! I think, if it wasn't for some minor contradictory elements, this movie could have been written as an Ayn Rand novel. This is about the most egoist movie I have ever seen. And if you ignore its contradictions (for e.g. how Vincent decries the fact that firms shouldn't discriminate against him when hiring because it was against the law), it is a great story about free will, and making your life what you want it to be, and to pursue your own goals relentlessly instead of resigning yourself to fate and the deterministic attitudes of those around you. I specifically loved the stylization in this movie. Many of the scenes distinctly remind me of the kind that Ayn Rand wrote in her novels --

- The scene between Uma Thurman's character and Ethan Hawke's detective brother where he subtly tries to hit on her, distinctly reminded me of the scenes between Dominique and Keating in The Fountainhead, where he is making advances towards her and she is completely ignoring him.

- The scene where Vincent (Ethan Hawke) is standing on the roof of Gattaca's lobby and cleaning it, and looking up at the rocket launches, and thinking to himself how close he is to his goal.

- The scene at the end where Jerome tells Vincent that he gave him his body, but Vincent gave him his dream!

- The way Vincent is always looking up at the rocket launches throughout the movie!

- The contrast shown between Antoine (spelling?), Vincent's brother and his subordinate detective who is obviously more competent than he is.

- The scene in the end where the doctor taking Vincent's test tells him about his son and how much inspiration his son takes from Vincent, and how that explains his action in ignoring Vincent's test result, even though it shows him as an "Invalid".

- Many others I cannot call up at this moment

Link to post
Share on other sites
But genetic engineering is evil.  Pat Robertson told me so.

As Objectivists, or at least wannabe Objectivists, we tend to use our own minds to reach certain conclusions. Looking only at the movie, there isn't enough information in it to say with certainty that it shows genetic engineering as bad. What it shows as bad is the discrimination. Pat can as well run out of breath screaming whatever he likes, for all I care.

Don't be so submissive to what other people say, they're not always right. You have your own mind and the capacity to use it. And since man's mind is his basic tool for survival, I really don't see how you can consider yourself moral working by the opinions of others, rather than by rational conclusions you make yourself.

I agree with manavmehta. The movie is brilliant. Considering what the movie market is flooded with lately, the little contradictions that this movie has are hardly noticable. I've already mentioned it in another thread and I wondered why nobody pointed it out as an excellent movie because it upholds many principles which are compliant with Objectivist ethics and more. I enjoyed the movie the first, as well as the second time I watched it, although at first I thought that it would be just another typical anti-genetic-engineering movie or something like that.

Link to post
Share on other sites
And if you ignore its contradictions [...]

How do you do that?

I've got some questions:

1. Why did so much of the training involve typing on a computer?

2. Are we supposed to think that it is morally acceptable to cheat in order to pass tests (use of a phony heartbeat recording)?

3. In addition to a moral problem, isn't there an actual safety hazard? Why should we believe that the physical tests have nothing to do with the actual demands of the work that the main character was training to do?

4. What was the purpose of all those rocket launches? Why didn't we ever see what happens from the point of view of those who are on the launches?

5. Why does the character who makes a final security check allow the main character to pass through?

6. Are people really going to wear business suits to fly into space?

Link to post
Share on other sites
How do you do that?

Simple. You focus on what the movie is essentially about. I think this movie falls into the category of what Ayn Rand called Romantic Symbolism. It is about isolating an abstraction and presenting it through a story. So, if you don't take the story literally and only look at the abstraction which it has stripped bare for you, you will enjoy it! The abstraction (and the theme of the story) in this case is the power of volition i.e. the fact that human beings are masters of their fate and not helplessly tied by deterministic factors beyond their control. The fact that Vincent could succeed in a world which had already sentenced him is a joyous affirmation of this principle!

1.  Why did so much of the training involve typing on a computer?
I don't know, but I consider that a non-essential detail to the movie. It doesn't detract from what the movie is about.

2.  Are we supposed to think that it is morally acceptable to cheat in order to pass tests (use of a phony heartbeat recording)? 

No, not in our present real world, but in the fictional world of this movie, I believe this is an aspect of the story not to be taken literally, and a non-essential on top of that. The essential of this story is its life-affirming theme.

3.  In addition to a moral problem, isn't there an actual safety hazard?  Why should we believe that the physical tests have nothing to do with the actual demands of the work that the main character was training to do? 
non-essential.

4.  What was the purpose of all those rocket launches?  Why didn't we ever see what happens from the point of view of those who are on the launches?

non-essential.

5.  Why does the character who makes a final security check allow the main character to pass through?
It is appropriate to mention a principle here, of mutual self-respect among individuals. I believe it was Ayn Rand who said (though I am not sure) that the greatest gift that one human being can give to another is the sight of an achievement. The character at the end believes that Vincent has given him something by showing to him and his son that success and happiness are possible in this world, so it was in return that he allowed Vincent to pass. If you paid attention to the dialogue in this last scene, you will notice that this character tells Vincent about his son who is also an "Invalid" but who admires Vincent greatly for what he has accomplished despite his disadvantages.

6.  Are people really going to wear business suits to fly into space?

non-essential.

Link to post
Share on other sites
As Objectivists, or at least wannabe Objectivists, we tend to use our own minds to reach certain conclusions. Looking only at the movie, there isn't enough information in it to say with certainty that it shows genetic engineering as bad. What it shows as bad is the discrimination. Pat can as well run out of breath screaming whatever he likes, for all I care.

Don't be so submissive to what other people say, they're not always right. You have your own mind and the capacity to use it. And since man's mind is his basic tool for survival, I really don't see how you can consider yourself moral working by the opinions of others, rather than by rational conclusions you make yourself.

I agree with manavmehta. The movie is brilliant. Considering what the movie market is flooded with lately, the little contradictions that this movie has are hardly noticable. I've already mentioned it in another thread and I wondered why nobody pointed it out as an excellent movie because it upholds many principles which are compliant with Objectivist ethics and more. I enjoyed the movie the first, as well as the second time I watched it, although at first I thought that it would be just another typical anti-genetic-engineering movie or something like that.

My post was meant entirely in sarcasm.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I love the line Vincent gives his brother when asked how he won the race ... something like "I never saved anything for the swim back."

Excellent film.

And I love the production and wardrobe: classic-inspired cars, functionalist architecture, and oh how sweet it would be if people started dressing up more!

{Edit - selpling erorr}

Edited by synthlord
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 months later...
If I remember correctly, the blurb on the movie poster for Gattaca said, "There is no gene for the human spirit."

So it says on the DVD cover.

<<<SPOILERS>>>

My favorite scene is where the main charactor crosses the street, after being forced to remove his contact lenses. He risks everything to join Uma Thurman across the street.

One of the deleted scenes in the DVD is also pretty good. The head janitor berates the main charactor for having dreams of going to space, when he is only a lowly janitor. He smiles and says: "I guess I'm just a slow learner."

Link to post
Share on other sites
How do you do that?

I've got some questions:

1. Why did so much of the training involve typing on a computer?

2. Are we supposed to think that it is morally acceptable to cheat in order to pass tests (use of a phony heartbeat recording)?

3. In addition to a moral problem, isn't there an actual safety hazard? Why should we believe that the physical tests have nothing to do with the actual demands of the work that the main character was training to do?

4. What was the purpose of all those rocket launches? Why didn't we ever see what happens from the point of view of those who are on the launches?

5. Why does the character who makes a final security check allow the main character to pass through?

6. Are people really going to wear business suits to fly into space?

1.I think he was a navigator. It's pretty much just typing and really, really knowing what your doing - oh yeah, and never making a mistake.B)

2. If your purpose is to prevent something immoral from being done to you ( discrimination ) it is. Think - Howard Roark demolishing a building without proper permits, etc.

3. I refer you to #1. But then - that is the vital question. However, since typing is apparently the most physical thing he has to do then it might be of little consequence.

4. Colonization? Mining? Exploration for both? - we do. At the end.

5. Someone else answered this.

6. No, just to the orbiting base where deep space launches take place. B)

So it says on the DVD cover.

<<<SPOILERS>>>

My favorite scene is where the main charactor crosses the street, after being forced to remove his contact lenses. He risks everything to join Uma Thurman across the street.

One of the deleted scenes in the DVD is also pretty good. The head janitor berates the main charactor for having dreams of going to space, when he is only a lowly janitor. He smiles and says: "I guess I'm just a slow learner."

Wow, I've always said that to people who tell me something can't be done. :lol:

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 year later...

Gattaca

If you are aware of the Lucifer Project then you will see the true core of the movie.

The "Elite" men of Cains blood train at Gattaca and take rocket ships to Titan.

The Planet is Covered in mirrors to reflect the light from the second Sun !

The plan has been shown to us in many others works of Art.

2001, 2012, Silent Running, Stargate Sg1 ect....

Link to post
Share on other sites

Gattaca is one of my favorite movies. I own it and have watched it probably over 10 times.

Trivia fact - The title Gattaca is made from the abbreviation of DNA nucleotide sequences Adenine, Thymine, Cytosine, and Guanine.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

My favorite movie by far. Just one minor correction: I'm pretty sure Lamar's son was engineered rather than an invalid. He says "[My son] isn't all that they promised - but then, who knows what he could do?" Leads me to believe there was a mistake or two and that's why he covered his tracks.

Both he and the Janitor knew the whole time and helped him out; too bad they cut the janitor scene.

- The scene where Vincent (Ethan Hawke) is standing on the roof of Gattaca's lobby and cleaning it, and looking up at the rocket launches, and thinking to himself how close he is to his goal.

I had a frame from that scene printed out on canvas to hang in my hallway. It really is beautiful! :D

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 year later...
  • 2 weeks later...
  • 9 months later...

All right, I've been directed to this thread because I've been told that I have grossly misinterpreted Gattaca as luddite propaganda, so I feel somewhat compelled to reply here.

- The scene at the end where Jerome tells Vincent that he gave him his body, but Vincent gave him his dream!

This is negated by Jerome burning himself alive. Apparently Vincent's dream wasn't enough. The two obvious interpretations of the match cut between the liftoff and the suicide are: Jerome's "burden of perfection" made his life too meaningless to bear in direct contrast with Vincent's "naturalness," or that Jerome's "journey" into nonlife is somehow the equivalent of Vincent's ascent.

The contrast shown between Antoine (spelling?), Vincent's brother and his subordinate detective who is obviously more competent than he is.

Actually, no. The subordinate was resistant to the idea of someone at Gattaca committing the murder, and only pursued it at Anton's insistence. You're not the only one who remembers this wrong.

No, not in our present real world, but in the fictional world of this movie, I believe this is an aspect of the story not to be taken literally, and a non-essential on top of that.

In the fictional world of the movie, it is still immoral. We have an equivalent issue to the discrimination shown in the movie in the real world, and it's called racism. Specifically, hiring practices influenced by racism. Yes, racism is immoral. But choosing not to hire someone for such a reason is within your rights as an employer, irrational though it may be. The choice of whether or not to hire someone is a private affair and is not a justification for fraud to any extent. Fraud is a violation of rights, plain and simple. To call this a non-essential when a central focus of the movie is fraud in the face of discrimination is absolutely unconscionable, and perhaps even a little evasive.

2. If your purpose is to prevent something immoral from being done to you ( discrimination ) it is. Think - Howard Roark demolishing a building without proper permits, etc.

Here I see someone making the same mistake. The Howard Roark comparison is ridiculous in the extreme. Roark was not acting in response to someone not hiring him but to breach of contract, an actual violation of his rights.

Let's see what Rand has to say about this (emphasis mine)

Private racism is not a legal, but a moral issue—and can be fought only by private means, such as economic boycott or social ostracism.

If you'd like to know more about Ayn Rand, and her philosophy, called "Objectivism," I suggest you visit www.aynrand.org. It'll change your life, I promise you.

In addition to a moral problem, isn't there an actual safety hazard?

Absolutely, yes, and the safety hazard is a moral problem because in addition to Vincent's fraud he's putting others at risk without their knowledge or consent. The lives of his fellow astronauts are in peril because he hid a health problem that would get an astronaut in training screend out in the real world for the very same reasons. The movie doesn't treat this as essential, but it nonetheless is, despite the thoughtlessness of the filmmakers.

Gattaca is not only every bit as luddite as it appears to be superficially, but is anti-life and anti-capitalist to its very core. The scenes with the janitors were obviously meant as allegory for class struggle. You see this in their downcast looks and the scene where

the fat old one doesn't even regognize Vincent anymore since he got himself an expensive suit and hair gel.

. Every scene with the made men and their activities exudes an insipid shallowness that matches countless other films portraying the wealthy in the same light. The exceptions are a woman who is at least decent enough to feel ambivalent about Vincent's lies, and a man so crippled on the inside he

crippled himself on the outside.

(Face it, Jerome's self-hatred was intended by the filmmakers to make him more sympathetic, because they were worried we would succumb to the same irrational envy Vincent has for the rest of "made" mankind.) In the scenes of Vincent's early childhood, there's even a tacit criticism of private health insurance; it's not explored too heavily, but it's in the same ballpark as the bullshit you hear in arguments against genetic engineering and even genetic testing.

If the movie is not a luddite and socialist fantasy, why then, was there no outcry from the filmmakers or anyone involved when the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act was passed, with Gattaca mentioned in so many discussions of the bill right up to, and after, it was signed into law? It's already had a damaging and lasting effect on this country. Has anyone seen a version with the writer/director's commentary that can shed some light on this?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...