Fulfilled in Jesus

Our pilgrimage with our Beloved in Japan -- Yoko & Ramone on the journey with Jesus!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Gattaca


"There is no gene for the human spirit."



Vincent is a wanted man. He's not a murderer, but he is a liar. His greatest crime, though, was being born naturally. In the world of "Gattaca", wise parents leave nothing to chance.

Murphey's Law says that no matter how well you plan, if there is a 1% chance of something going wrong, it will happen. We spend most of our lives trying to avoid Murphey, don't we? Perhaps in the future we will be able to convince ourselves that we can overcome him.

Society, in Vincent's time, believed they had, and they thought the human race -- or the human genes -- would forever be better off because of it. Yet often when we humans overcome something, we tend to look down on others who haven't. Society overcame defects, but people like Vincent weren't "properly" planned. Vincent is the remainder, the leftover in an otherwise perfect calculated society. He is one of those who were unfortunate enough to be born naturally, and so his fate is already decided. He will die early and not be allowed to hold any important job. Since he is not as well-constructed as others, his dreams are literally useless. Though genetic discrimination is forbidden by law, everyone does it. After all, no one would want a genetically unstable person who might die or who might not have 100% capacity to do the necessary task.

But Vincent was born with a stubborn dream streak inside him, and he doesn't accept his destiny completely. He continues to dream, and one day his weak heart takes him further than he ever thought he could go. That little victory gives him the courage to step out into the unknown, never looking back. That's how you follow your dreams.

"Gattaca" is science fiction, but that does not mean it has aliens, spaceships, mind-boggling CGI, or even amazing gadgets and super futuristic technology. It does have beautiful macro cinematography and stunning geometric sets that would be as sterile as a Stanley Kubrick movie were it not for the limited tan color pallete, giving it instead a very classic feel. The time is set "In the not-too-distant future". The technology is not too far-fetched. People still wear suits. People still have joys, worries, and prejudices, although the latter are no longer based on appearance. If a science fiction movie has no stunning technology, great computer graphics or space aliens, why would we want to see it? If you're looking for those things, this is not your movie. Instead of the usual Sci-fi fare, it has heart. It wants to lift your spirit instead of dazzling your eyes.

Although the social discrimination of "Gattaca" poses the "What if?" question, the hypotheticals fade quickly and I am only left remembering the spirit that chased a dream. In the end I marvel not because of its hypothetical ramifications, not because of its technology, but simply because it has a heart that tells us not to be afraid of dreaming. Not to let the weaknesses we have discourage us from stepping outside.

At one point when someone discovers that Vincent was born naturally, they ask in shock: "You're a God-child?" In their society, only fools let God decide the future of their children. Yet in the end, who is the fool, Vincent or his society? Strange how society discourages us from dreaming, killing the hearts of would-be explorers before they ever learn how to set out. Ironically or not, God is not to be mistaken for the voice of society. Let's say He made Vincent perfect, flaws and all. And you & me, too. Those who know God can testify: Murphey can work both ways, and is usually not a bad thing at all.

*****

GATTACA
1997 - Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Jude Law, Loren Dean
Written & directed by Andrew Niccol
PG-13

"Gattaca" was written and directed by Andrew Niccol, the author of the Jim Carrey film, "The Truman Show", which also told the story of a human in a "perfect" cell who dreamed of becoming an explorer, and risked his life to escape his safe, pre-charted destiny.

The name "Gattaca" is explained on this site from the IMDB.
Read Roger Ebert's review of Gattaca.

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