Gattaca, Andrew Niccols Negative Portrayal of the 'Not-Too-Distant' Future

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Gattaca Essay

Through his film Gattaca, Andrew Niccol shows that the ‘not-so-distant future’ of genetic engineering is not as superior as it seems. A time where children are engineered from conception is imminent. An obvious benefit of such a world is the ability to eliminate all genetic flaws from diseases to deformities. While this may seem like a utopian society Niccol suggests that the more technologically advanced man becomes, the more human spirit is lost. He also implies that man can never engineer past primal human characteristics. Using the story of Vincent Freeman, a man born genetically inferior with high ambitions to enter the elite aerospace corporation Gattaca, he illustrates his first idea with the setting and lighting then highlights them further with the costumes, characterization, and ensemble. Niccol’s second idea is made clear by his characters, costumes, and ensemble and emphasized by vivid visual imagery.

Niccol presents this new society of genetic perfection as sterile and artificial, lacking in warmth. The buildings in the Gattacan world are intimidating concrete fortresses in geometric shapes with little or no adornment. Inside the Gattaca Aerospace Corporation it is cold and plain. The cubicles are aligned in perfect rows, all facing the front. There is no trace of the individual who occupy’s the space, no pictures and no clutter. This emphasizes the uniformity among the Gattaca workers. They are efficient and productive but mechanical and emotionless. Jerome Morrow’s apartment is sparsely furnished with no personalization. It is orderly and refined but again, lacking any individuality. The lighting in both places is dim, lit only enough to adequately see. This gives the set a cold, uninviting atmosphere.

Niccol’s characters fit perfectly into this cool and aloof setting. Their costumes are androgynous in dull greys and blacks. Irene wears corporate-looking blouses that button up to her neck paired with austere skirts. Her...
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