In the 1990s, the study of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) became more pronounced with various research institutes paying attention to the human genome. However, like most scientific research into bioscience, diverse opinions in support and against the research arose. It is against this backdrop that Andrew Niccol wrote and directed the epic movie – Gattaca.
In this movie, Niccol explores the possibilities and likely effects of genetic manipulation by presenting the realities of a future driven by eugenics. Through this movie, Niccol raises core issues challenging the trajectory of genetic manipulation and eugenics (Kim, 2017).
Considering the above, this essay on Gattaca film analysis examines the issues raised in Niccol’s Gattaca.
Gattaca is a science fiction produced in 1997. Through its focus on Vincent Freeman, it presents a futuristic world where eugenics is the order of the day. As such, humans are now the creation of selective profiling of genes. Precisely, parents could now choose every feature of their child ranging from eye color, hair, height, and the removal of genetic diseases to make a perfect child (Kim, 2017).
In turn, thanks to this development, the society considers individuals who had undergone genetic manipulation to be superior. As such, they get better opportunities ranging from education to job placement. Noteworthy, society achieves this by distinguishing products of eugenics as ‘Valids’ and others as ‘In-Valids’ (Kim, 2017).
In this environment, Vincent Freeman struggles to get his dream job in a space research center. The institute rejects Vincent as his genetic codes do not meet the institutional requirements. Eventually, he meets Jerome, a Valid who had faced an accident. Jerome then provides him with genetic samples such as skin, blood, hair, and urine, which allows Vincent to act as Jerome and get his dream job (Kim, 2017).
Throughout his employment, he continually wears and presents Jerome’s genetic samples for various testing. He also leaves them around to avoid suspicion. However, a complication arises as a director is found dead, and Vincent real genetic samples are found on the crime scene. Regardless, Vincent might be able to survive as Jerome leaves quite a considerable genetic sample for Vincent (Kim, 2017).
Gattaca Film Analysis
1. Genetic Manipulation and Genetic Determinism
The notion of gene manipulation is at the core of Niccol’s Gattaca. The movie presents the use of science to edit and select the best genes in humans to create the perfect child (Singh, 2017).
However, Niccol further explores the idea of genetic determinism as an end game to genetic manipulation. Precisely, through genetic manipulation, the human race transforms into mere objects and resources necessary to satisfy specific needs. As such, the movie presents a society that views humans, not as humans; instead, they are now objectified (Singh, 2017).
Noteworthy, Niccol presents this possibility through various effects. For instance, the film opens with images of large macroscopic chipped skin flakes. However, figuratively, Niccol presents that imperfection is an inherent part of the human race, and any attempt to extinguish them represented the death of humanity (Singh, 2017).
Throughout the movie, humans now represent a small part of a functional society with predetermined roles thanks to their genetic make-up. With this, Niccol presents a likely negative to eugenics (Singh, 2017).
2. Bureaucratic Control
A significant idea raised in Niccol’s Gattaca is the predominance of bureaucratic control in a genetically dominated world. Precisely, Niccol, through this movie, offers an insight into a possible application of genetic manipulation in real-life situations (Singh, 2017).
Noteworthy, this is exemplified through the division of individuals into ‘Valids’ and ‘In-Valids.’ Through this mechanism, the state can determine the fate of individuals immediately they are born. For instance, Vincent being invalid is regarded as incapable of achieving great things (Singh, 2017).
Even more, his mother, who believed otherwise at first, succumbs to this pressure. In turn, she prioritizes his brother Anton over him. As such, she is systematically forced to abandon her son for not conforming with the system’s standards (Singh, 2017).
Noteworthy, the idea of bureaucratic control is even more evident as individuals regarded as ‘In-Valids’ are unable to enjoy access to essential educational benefits in a society based on their status. Similarly, society sacrifices individuality on the altar of institutionalization, as exemplified by the inability of ‘In-Valids’ to get employed for top jobs (Singh, 2017).
Another relevant issue raised by Niccol in this movie is discrimination. Although discrimination remained a significant part of the world at the time of the production, Niccol presents an increase in discrimination thanks to genetic manipulation (Singh, 2017).
Noteworthy, this is an extension of the idea of bureaucratic control. In Niccol’s view, through genetic manipulation, s further distinction would be made between humans. Exemplifying this, Niccol presents the discrimination between Anton and Vincent. Although they are of the same parents, since Vincent has not undergone genetic manipulation, he was regarded as inferior and second class (Singh, 2017).
As such, he was rejected for top positions and required to make do with a janitorial job. However, this is not only his fate. Niccol presents other ‘In-Valids’ as facing the same fate. The movie shows them wearing one-piece janitor wear exemplifying their status as inferior (Singh, 2017).
4. Freedom of Self-Determination
Another prominent issue raised by Niccol in this movie is the idea of self-determination. Noteworthy, an integral part of human existence is the capacity to determine the purpose of their life. Niccol presents this idea through Vincent, who dreams of going to Titan from a young age (Singh, 2017).
However, Niccol creates a dilemma as he first presents the capacity of a eugenics-driven world to deny humans the power and freedom of self-determination. Later on, he then presents the strength in the supposed inferior genetic make-up through Vincent (Singh, 2017).
Regardless of this disadvantaged position, Vincent decides to do all he can with the help of Jerome. Noteworthy, through these efforts, Niccol identifies what makes humans unique away from genetic modification and eugenics (Singh, 2017).
This paper identifies various philosophical ideas concerning genetic manipulation and eugenics. Noteworthy, this was in reaction to the increased attention to genetic manipulation by researchers and scientists. Through this movie, Niccol identifies the possible realities of a world driven by eugenics.
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