gattacaGattaca, directed by Andre Niccol, 1997

This is one of my favorite sci-fi films from the '90s. I revisit it every year just to remind myself that Hollywood was once capable of producing smart, elegant, and quiet sci-fi thrillers that speak to the mind and to the heart.

Gattaca is set in a futuristic world where pre-birth genetic modification and perfection is the norm. Those not lucky enough to be shaped and molded into superstars before birth live on the fringes of society and are treated like second class citizens. Ethan Hawke plays Vincent, a regular guy who poses as one of the privileged to fulfill his dream of going into space.

There's a great cautionary tale and murder mystery plot here, and the film features excellent work by Hawke, Jude Law, Ernest Borgnine, Uma Thurman and Alan Arkin. Tony Shalhoub's brief but memorable appearance as a black market identity dealer is almost good enough to recommend the film on its own.
categories Features, Sci-Fi