Stage 2 English Communications
Text Analysis - Film Study
‘What was that about?’ asks a member of the film audience. Explain to them what the filmmakers were trying to achieve in the film ‘Gattaca’?
The film, Gattaca, is set in a science-fiction world, but is recognisably life on Earth in the ‘not too-distant future’. A society that is evolving through genetic engineering is observed and it is evident that its become divided based on genetics. The film explores key concerns of a model of society built on eugenics and the negative impact this has over time, which is portrayed through the use of a complex script, motifs, symbolism and effective cinematography. Director, Andrew Niccol, forces us to put ourselves in the shoes of the characters and encourages us to empathise not only with those genetically flawed such as Vincent Freeman and Irene Cassini but also those genetically perfect such as Jerome Morrow.
Genetic engineering not only has the power to create the perfect individual, but also the perfect human race. In the opening scene of the film, an epigraph of an inscription is displayed, stating that ‘I not only think that we will tamper with Mother Nature. I think Mother want us too.’ This quote suggests the contrary, that we are almost obligated to tamper with biology because we can. The society of Gattaca revolves around the idea that every employee must be genetically perfect. A mandatory blood test and urine sample is required everyday to ensure that each and every employee meets the highly particular standards that Gattaca sets for its workers. Those who are not genetically manipulated to so-called perfection in a lab, but naturally conceived, are given the name ‘in-valid’ or ‘god’s child’, and are treated as second class. The environment of Gattaca is first revealed in the opening scene. A tilt-up shot displays the futuristic design of Gattaca and the symmetry of the architecture, showing that not only are the workers faultless, but so is the premises. The camera then cuts into a close-up of the workers walking through the gate. There is minimal conversation between co-workers, which really sets the mood for the environment the people of Gattaca work in. Everyone appears to be emotionally distant and reserved, potentially competition and suspicion of others. The effect this has on the audience is adverse. It generates ideas that this could be the reality of the ‘not too-distant future’, leaving the audience feeling concerned yet intrigued. It is evident in this scene that the world of Gattaca is genetically perfected and those of who were conceived naturally simply do not meet the standards. Vincent, who is an invalid, states, “Today we have discrimination down to a science.”
Genetic discrimination is highly prevalent in the world of Gattaca. It does not give equal opportunity to those of the second class. In-valids are forced to be menial labourers such as janitors or other low-income jobs. Their resume is their...