Extended Response Questions by x6dOXVK


									                          GATTACA FUTURE WORLDS


     It’s “the not too distant future” and the world has not changed so much
     The future world is very clean and sanitised.
     Stainless steel objects
     The look is retro in places especially with vehicles that appear to be from the
      50’s era


     Genetics – science has been able to create a custom ordered super being
      known as a ‘valid’.
     At the Genetics Clinic there were 4 perfectly formed embryos – what
      happened to the other 3?
     Up to a dozen or more rocket departures every day
     Cars run on electricity


     a future/ destiny decided at birth
     Genoism – discrimination against those with unclean cells
     “My resume was in my cells”
     “No one exceeds their potential”
     Some that are born perfect such as Eugene “a big time swimming star” are
      still disenchanted with their lives because he suffers from the burden of
      perfection. Eugene attempts to take his own life on a number of occasions
     The pianist with 12 fingers suggests that humans may mutate in the future


     “Its illegal to discriminate but no one takes the law seriously”
     people have become workaholics
     people no longer socialise or talk with one another as much – there is a lack
      of emotion and sincerity
     “10 fingers, 10 toes, that’s all that use to matter”
     “when was the last time anyone looked at a photo”
     Despite all of its perfect appearances the future world of Gattaca still has a
      criminal or black market element. For example, the DNA broker who illegally
      provides a service to transform Vincent into a Valid or Borrowed Ladder
     There is evidence to suggest that it is a patriarchal world or a world ruled by
      men. Women are distinctly absent throughout.
     There does not seem to be any provision for the handicapped such as the
      wheel chair bound Eugene or the elderly. Where would he be without
      Vincent? Euthanized?
     You cannot have a relationship without having your potential partner
      sequenced first.
     Rigid class structure – janitors, detectives & Navigators
     Religion and God has been replaced by science


     People are judged by their DNA at birth – Vincent has a “99% chance of heart
      failure” and has a life expectancy of 30.2 years
     Constant screening – blood, urine, swab, eye “myopia” analysis
     Inferior people are shunned by society and are known as ‘Invalids’
     Claims to be a Utopian world but a murder occurs
     During the day it appears to be very hot suggesting that something is wrong
      with the environment
     A distinct lack of trees or greenery and where are the animals?
     Invalids have been rounded up and live in what appears to be a fenced off
      district of the city or a ghetto
     It’s almost impossible to simply be yourself – in the future there will be more
      pressure to conform


     Exact science
     Less disease through customised births
     The mass use of solar energy


     Invalid also known as a de-gene-rate, faith birth & god-child
     Valid – also known as a made man
     Genoism – a form of discrimination
     Borrowed Ladder (helix)
     fingertip blood sachets
     Customised urine pouches
     Superior body matter


            “Consider God’s handiwork; who can straighten what He hath made
             crooked”? – Ecclesiate’s 7:13
            “I not only think that we will tamper with Mother Nature, I think Mother
             wants us to”. – Willard Gaylin
            “Cleanliness is next to godliness” - Vincent
            “They use to say that a child conceived in love has a greater chance
             of happiness. They don’t say that anymore” – Vincent
            “Ten fingers, ten toes. That’s all that use to matter” – Vincent
            “…Only seconds old the exact time and cause of my own death was
             already known” – Vincent
   “I’ve taken the liberty of eradicating any potentially prejudicial
    conditions premature baldness…alcoholism…obesity etcetera” -
   “The only way you will see the inside of a spaceship is if you are
    cleaning it” – Vincent’s father
   “…My real resume was in my cells…It’s illegal to discriminate.
    Genoism it’s called, but no one takes the law seriously” – Vincent
    “We now have discrimination down to a science” – Vincent
   “When was the last time anyone looked at a photograph?” – the DNA
    broker (German)
   “They don’t care where you were born, just how – blood has no
    nationality” – the DNA broker (German)
   “Jerome Morrow was never meant to be one step down from the
    podium. With all that I had going for me, I was still second best” -
   “Eugene never suffered from the routine discrimination of a utero, a
    faith birth, or in-valid as we are called. A valid, a vitro, a made-man,
    he suffered under a different burden, the burden of perfection” –
   “I was now a member of a particularly detested segment of society.
    One of those who refuses to play the hand he was dealt. I am most
    commonly known as a borrowed ladder or a de-gene-rate” - Vincent
   “You know I wasn’t drunk…when I walked in front of that car…I
    stepped right out in front of it. I’ve never been more sober in all my
    life…couldn’t even get that right, could I? If it first you don’t succeed
    try, try again” - Eugene
   “No one exceeds his potential” – Director
    “They have got you looking so hard for any flaw that after a while,
    that’s all that you see” – Vincent to Irene
    “…I got the better end of the deal. I only lent you my body, you lent
    me your dream” – Eugene
   “I never did tell you about my son, did I? He’s a big fan of yours…he
    wants to apply here. Unfortunately, my son’s not all that they
    promised, but then who knows what he could do…right? - Lamar
   “Just remember that I was as good as any, and better then most” -
                      Extended Response Questions

   What do you think Andrew Niccol is trying to say by using the quote from
    Ecclesiastes 7:13 (“Consider God’s handiwork; who can straighten what He
    hath made crooked”) at the beginning of the film?

   How does Andrew Niccol seem to view developments in our understanding of
   In regard to production design, how has director Andrew Niccol’s created a
    menacing future world?
   The future world depicted in Gattaca also has a ‘retro’ 50’s appearance. For
    example, old model automobiles. It’s as if the future has been cobbled
    together from bits of outdated technology. What is the desired effect of this
    production feature? Explain.
   The police are known as ‘Hoovers’, named after the J Edger Hoover – Head
    of the FBI in America during the 50’s. During this era the FBI were
    responsible for locating people with an un-American communist agenda. This
    witch hunting was called ‘McCarthyism’. How is this reflected in Gattaca?

The film opens with a text from the Bible – Ecclesiastes 7:13 "Consider what God
has done: Who can straighten what he has made crooked?" It continues to tell how
our civilization may, in the not too distant future, attempt to do this.

This is a world in which women take swabs of their lips to catch the saliva from a
potential husband’s kiss in order to have the DNA analyzed - to assess their positive
and negative attributes. It is a world in which pianists are genetically engineered so
that they can play pieces "that can only be played with 12 fingers". It is a world in
which police and security checks are carried out by immediate DNA analysis from
blood samples.

Vincent, the main character, was conceived by a young couple in love – in the back
of a car rather than in a laboratory. Thus he was destined to be a second class
citizen along with others born in the same way – and called "faith births" or
"degenerates" or "invalids". Within seconds of his birth his DNA was analyzed and
his parents were told that he had a 99% chance of a heart disorder and should die
when he was 30.2 years old.

His parents decided to have a second son through "natural birth" as it was called – a
process involving careful genetic selection and manipulation. This carefully
engineered the child from the best bits of the father and mother, producing a child
that (this time) was good enough to take the father’s name – Anton.

The struggle between the two brothers, with their regular swimming competitions,
illustrates the struggle between "faith births" and "natural births".

No matter how hard he works Vincent is rejected by schools and then by employers.
He observes, "My real resume is in my cells. They have discrimination down to a
science." In time Vincent becomes a cleaner at Gattaca, a space exploration centre,
where he watches the rockets take off and longs to be able to fly one - a dream made
impossible by his genes.

But then Vincent decides to make the impossible become possible by "borrowing a
ladder". He teams up with Jerome Morrow, a competition swimmer with excellent
genes, who had broken his back when hit by a car and who now needs money to pay
for his excessive drinking. Vincent dyes his hair, has colored contact lenses fitted,
has an operation to lengthen his legs and assumes Jerome’s identity. Each morning
Vincent scrubs off all his loose skin and hairs before sticking on his finger tips small
patches containing Jerome’s blood and strapping to his legs a bag of Jerome’s urine.
Thus, whenever he gives a sample, it is Jerome’s DNA which is identified.

Vincent applies to train at Gattaca and finds that the interview process is nothing but
a quick analysis of his urine. With genes like that he is immediately accepted and is
soon scheduled for a flight to Titan. During his training he also falls in love with Irene,
another trainee – who’s DNA is good, but sufficiently flawed that she is told that she
will not be allowed to fly any long missions.

The flight is nearly cancelled by the mission director – but someone murders him in
Gattaca. The police are called and the building is swept for human hairs, skin and
saliva. One of Vincent’s hairs is discovered and the police set out to track down this
"invalid" who is their most obvious suspect. They eventually discover the real
murderer to be another of Gattaca’s directors (someone who had earlier thrown the
investigators off by saying "look at my DNA profile, I don’t have a violent bone in my

The film ends with Vincent taking off in the rocket on his flight to the stars.


The name "Gattaca" is composed entirely of the letters used to label the nucleotide
bases of DNA. The four-nucleotide bases of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) are
adenine, thymine, cytosine, and guanine.

The winding stairs in Jerome's apartment have the structure of a double helix, like

Uma Thurman's character is named Irene Cassini. Cassini is the surname of the 17th
century French-Italian astronomer, Jean Dominique Cassini, who discovered the
prominent gap in Saturn's main rings, as well as the icy moons, Iapetus, Dione,
Rhea, and Tethys. The space mission in Gattaca is destined for Saturn.

A space probe is currently travelling towards Saturn's moon Titan. The probe is
called Cassini.

Jude Law's character asks to be called by his middle name, Eugene. "Eugene"
comes from the Greek for "well born," which Jerome is. "Eugenics" (the science of
improving the hereditary qualities of a race or breed) is the central theme of the film.

The FBI agents are called "Hoovers," a reference to legendary top-G-man J. Edgar
Hoover, but also a clever reference to a vacuum cleaner brand. There are numerous
shots of vacuums being used to gather DNA evidence.

The Cast

Director/ Writer – Andrew Niccol

Primary Characters
Vincent/ Jerome – Ethan Hawke
Irene – Uma Thurman
Jerome/ Eugene – Jude Law

Secondary Characters
Anton – Loren Dean
Director Josef – Gore Vidal
Lamar (Medical Examiner) – Xander Berkeley
Detective Hugo – Alan Arkin
German (the DNA broker) – Tony Shalhoub
Caesar (Janitor at Gattaaca) – Ernest Borgnine

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