Andrew Niccol’s 1997 film Gattaca supports the belief that nature, despite its defects, is preferable to a flawless genetically engineered existence. This idea is explored through the character of Vincent who exhibits desire, resilience and determination, natural human’ elements that cannot be manufactured and are seemingly not present in the faultless’ future that is presented in Gattaca. These characteristics appear to be contrasted by the other characters in the film, such as Anton and the conforming Irene, who are perceived to be flawless’ in the context of their surroundings but are quite mechanical and emotionless. This is due to the fact that whilst they are genetically perfect’, they do not seem to possess the human qualities, such as the endeavor or the spirit that Vincent embodies.
Vincent’s flaws are seen as a restriction on him from the moment he is born. The audience sees this through the nurse’s proclamation that his “early fatal potential” is at “ninety seven percent probability.” The stigma attached to such a condition is shown when his father refuses to give Vincent. his own name, demonstrating effectively how his inferiority results in him being abandoned from the outset of his life. These events are indicative of the stigma attached to the notion of being an INVALID’ in this “not too distant” future. However, what this synthetic and artificial world in Gattaca fails to account for is the strength of the human spirit, which relates to the concept of “nature” and the emotions that define people what make people human, even in the face of their perceived shortcomings.
Vincent makes the assertion that “they’ve got you looking so hard for any flaw, after a while that’s all you see.” This is perhaps the most telling aspect of the superior’ society which reinforces the idea that the future has become little more than an emotionless, mechanical system, and that in the manufacturing of a better world’ has lost sight of what is truly important.
This relates to the fact that Vincent personifies many traits that other characters do not, and in many ways shows the society in which he lives as being more flawed than he is. Even though Vincent has been surrounded by many negative forces throughout his life, his optimism is a trait that is not prevalent in the genetically superior, such as Anton, who believe in their “right” to their standing in society. Vincent, through his desire, shows that his endeavor is more valuable than any DNA profile, an idea exemplified when he states that “there is no gene for fate.” This is another manner in which Gattaca supports nature as opposed to an engineered existence
The world of Gattaca and the pure’ engineered society as a whole instills in many characters a fear of failure and a conformist nature that is indicative of one that has lost sight of what is truly important.
Irene is a primary example of this in the film – she is obsessive, anxious and quite robotic in both actions and appearance. She is consumed by the burden of perfection and her want to keep up with the rigours of her competitive surroundings. The audience sees this when she states “I’m luckier than most, but not as lucky as some,” which highlights the fact that she is constantly dwelling on the negative aspects of her own life and how she is negatively impacted by the depiction of an engineered society. It is not until she interacts with Vincent, who is not wary of taking risks, that the audience sees a distinct change in her demeanour. This is shown through the fact that she releases her hair from her restrictive bun, in essence becoming more human’ and as such seeming to derive a lot from Vincent’s standpoint – the notion that “for whatever it’s worth.it is possible”.
Irene’s first emotional connection in the film is established with Vincent, and as such, the audience sees the strength and the influence of the natural’ world, and the notion that personality cannot be engineered.
Therefore, Gattaca shows that a genetically engineered future that is supposedly error free’ cannot compare to a flawed’ natural society, because the .