Themes in Gattaca

Gattaca 2.5 Film Essay
Analyse how particular techniques are used to develop deeper ideas in a visual text you have studied.

In Andrew Niccol’s movie Gattaca, visual techniques are used to develop the deeper ideas and themes of the human spirit, discrimination and determinism. Some of the techniques are extreme close up, flashback and lighting. Niccol does this for the purpose of showing the audience how someone can prevail against many challenges and achieve their goal.

Determinism or the belief that our destinies are mapped out for us at birth is a deeper idea in Gattaca. In the world of Gattaca, the wider society believes that their DNA determines what they as humans can achieve. Andrew Niccol develops this idea through the use of visual techniques. The movie begins with extreme close-ups of slowly falling hair, nails and skin cells. A few seconds later in the film we see a point of view/close up shot of Vincent injecting blood into a fake finger tip. This emphasises the importance of human blood and cells to the citizens of this futuristic world. They are important because they contain DNA which supposedly dictates the very day they will die, the smaller details are what their world revolves around. As the mission director says “No-one exceeds potential. If he did, it would simply mean that we did not gauge his potential in the first place.” The development of this idea is used for the purpose of bringing a conflict to the audience’s minds - the debate of free will , and to make the audience question whether DNA really does control a human’s development.

Human spirit and Free will are more ideas in Gattaca which are developed and film techniques are used to deepen our understanding of them. Despite all that we are shown about determinism in the futuristic society, Vincent still chooses his own destiny.   This shows a clear contradiction to the basis that a persons DNA dictates what they can achieve because Vincent shows that it is if one has enough...