Gattaca (1997) - Spoilers!

JoshuaHeterJoshuaHeter Omaha, NE
edited October 2020 in Movies
First, if you haven't seen this movie, go watch it, and then listen to an A+ podcast from Jim and Aron. Now, I don't know if any of this will generate any discussion, but having just watched the Twitch stream of the cast, I have some thoughts.

- Jim and Aron actually missed one detail. The director doesn't just confess. The scene where Anton (the detective) is interrogating Eugene (i.e. Jude Law), is cut with another scene. Hugo (i.e. Alan Arkin) is taking a second look at the corpse of the murder victim. He then tests a swab. If you look closely, you can see the [Gore Vidal]’s profile come up on the screen in the background. Later, Alan Arkin says "We found [Gore Vidal]'s spit in the dead director's eye.”

- All of Jim's criticisms were all entirely reasonable (they just don't bother me as much as they did him), and his suggestions on how to remedy them were super smart. The one I might push back on is the claim that the slurs for the non-genetically engineered people are problematically corny. As far as I can tell, the slur "degenerate" is only used once, and it's when Vincent is explaining himself to Irene. He lists a couple of different slangs for a non-engineered person, and throws in "degenerate", almost as if it's something he's heard once or twice. If "degenerate" was used throughout the movie, I agree, that would knock it down a peg (as it is kind of corny). 

- I've seen this movie many, many times, and I've thought about it a lot. That said, (unsurprisingly) Jim and Aron pointed out a few details that I had never caught. I knew "borrowed ladder" was a reference to using someone else to get ahead, but it can also be seen as a reference to "borrowing" someone else's genetic code (since genetic code is also visualized as a ladder of a sort). Likewise, I knew that Danny Devito was a producer on this movie, but I had never mad the connection the the movie "Twins". That might just be a coincidence... but then again... maybe not(?).

- When I sent in my pre-feedback, I included info about the names. If you remember: 
         1. "Vincent" means (roughly) "to conquer".
         2. "Anton" (the name of Vincent's genetically superior brother) means "priceless". 
         3. "Eugene" (the middle name of the Jude Law character) literally means "well born".
But, there are a few other names of note.
         4. "Jerome" (the name / identity that Vincent takes from Eugene) literally means "sacred name". 
         5. Prior to his accident Jerome / Eugene is a competitive swimmer. His last name is "Morrow" which means "Seafarer".
         6. Irene's last name is "Cassini". The Cassini space mission launched 9 days before Gattaca's release in 1997.

- The hair at the end of the movie has always (kind of) bothered me. After listening to the cast, I guess it bothers me (just a bit) more. It's almost like... the writer of the film had a very good broad idea for the ending (some last message from Eugene to Vincent), but didn't know how to fill in the details, so he just went with a "first draft" idea. 

- The original name of the movie was "The 8th Day". Is this an improvement? Would it have helped (or hurt even further) the box office?

- I thought Aron's suggestion of making the (hypothetical) Gattaca TV show an anthology was genius. I'm not sure adapting the movie into any sort of a conventional (episodic or serialized) show works... but an anthology absolutely would. 5 (8 episode long) seasons would absolutely work (in which all of the seasons intersect in interesting ways) could be a home run and I'm actually kind of sad we aren't getting that. 

- About unnecessarily casting a 17 year old version of Vincent (when they could’ve just used Ethan Hawke)... I think they needed to do this so they could pair that actor with a teenage version of Anton. They couldn’t use the adult Anton to play teenage Anton, because that would ruin the reveal at the end. That said, this *could* be seen as a “cheat” by the movie, but I can’t complain too much.

All in all, I think Jim and Aron's cast (more than) did this movie justice. I hope everyone checks out this movie, and I hope Bald Move gains (at least) a few new members because of this cast.


  • A_Ron_HubbardA_Ron_Hubbard Cincinnati, OH
    Glad you're happy with it, man. Great commission. Thanks for the support!
  • Thanks for the commission!  This was on my shortlist back when I did my commission.  I saw Gattaca when I was about 17 and this one always stuck with me.  I know within film buff circles, this is well known, but I don't know a lot of people in my life that have seen this commission really hit me hard, as I've always wanted somebody to discuss it with. I've seen this movie so many times and thought about it throughout my life. I will admit I'm embarrassed to say that when I first saw this movie, it didn't occur to me that Eugene got injured while attempting suicide. I only realized this during a rewatch some years later. Needless to say, that added an entire depth to Eugene that I somehow missed. Anyway, great podcast!!  This definitely filled the void I needed to accompany this film.

  • @Blindfolded

    Thanks! It just seemed like one of those movies that needed to be a part of the Bald Move catalog of coverage.

    And, don’t feel bad about missing that detail. Having seen it multiple times throughout the years, I definitely picked up things I missed the first few times I saw it.

    I had never noticed what (I think) Jim pointed out: perhaps Vincent crossing the street without his contacts is an intended parallel to Eugene. Eugene (being genetically gifted) failed in his mission of ending his life by stepping out onto the street. Vincent (being genetically “inferior”) succeeded in his mission of surviving by stepping out onto the street.

  • I haven't listened to the pod yet, but this is one of my all time favorite movies. Thanks for commissioning it! 

    One of the lasting images I remember from the movie:

  • @Giovanni

    It has so many great shots like that...

  • CoryCory New Scotland
    I own this move on Bly-Ray, first saw it on TMN in 98? 99?  (I think the movie came out in 97?).  Have only watched it 2 or 3 times though.
Sign In or Register to comment.