”This story is about the fight of the under dog. ” How are the themes of prejudice and courage developed in the film GATTACA? Gattaca directed by Andrew Niccol, is set in a future where science, and not religion, has taken over society. A new form of discrimination has arisen, called genoism, discrimination according to one’s genetic purity. The story follows a man named Vincent Freeman who was born as a god child this means he was genetically inferior to people born with the aid of technology.
Vincent faces extreme genetic discrimination and prejudice, making it harder for his life long dream of being an astronaut. But we soon find that with courage and determination Vincent can rise up and live his dream despite being “disadvantaged”. Vincent Freeman was born of a ‘faith birth’ also called a ‘God-child’. Throughout the film we find that this limits Vincent’s ability to reach his goal of working at Gattaca. Vincent is labelled as an “invalid” and “degenerate” considered less superior simply because he was born without the aid of technology.
His parents had planned to call their first born child after their father Anton. When the doctors told them that he had a life expectancy of 30 and a 99% chance of heart deficiency his father decided to name him Vincent, this continued throughout his childhood and in to his adult life. Vincent was always being treated as second best because of his genetic makeup. As the film progresses we find Vincent proves to be just as capable as any other employee at Gattaca even though he was a “degenerate”.
Vincent states “there is no gene for fate” meaning that even in this modern day, if a person is put down and considered less superior than someone they can achieve anything with hard work and determination. We see signs of prejudice early in the film where as courage was shown more so toward the end. Signs of Prejudice were portrayed when Vincent decides to run away from home to pursue his dream. When Vincent went for his interview at Gattaca the interview consists entirely of a urine test, Vincent being a “degenerate” failed the interview and the highest position he could reach was a janitor at Gattaca.
This is a perfect of prejudice; simply because Vincent was not genetically engineered he is not good enough to be an astronaut. This also shows how Vincent developed throughout the film and the fight of the underdog, from where he was, cleaning the floors to being an astounded astronaut. In this scene Vincent’s determination is shown when the head cleaner tells him not to clean the glass too well, to which Vincent replies “Yeah, but if the glass is clean, it’ll be easier for you to see me when I’m on the other side of it! An incredible moment portraying extreme amounts of courage would be when Anton and Vincent swam together again. This was a moving moment because of its sentimental values. It took great courage for Vincent to participate in such a meaningful event considering how life threatening it was the first time. The only way Vincent could achieve his life-long dream of working at Gattaca was to take on the life of Jerome Morrow, a “valid” who has a remarkable genetic profile, this was not an easy task he had to go to extreme measures to leave no traces of his “in-valid’ DNA.
A week before his scheduled flight the mission director was murdered and one of Jerome’s eyelashes were found. With the find of Vincent’s unexpected DNA brings the interest of the police, and he must avoid the growing security as his mission launch date approaches. The dedication and courage it took for Vincent to stay at Gattaca especially in those circumstances was enormous. For the whole week the police were searching for an invalid posing as a Gattaca employee. If Vincent were to be exposed as an invalid he would lose his position and would be subject to fines.
Just like the rest of his life Vincent would be a victim of genetic discrimination. While all this chaos is happening at Gattaca, we find out that the detective in charge is Vincent’s brother Anton. Anton tries to convince Vincent to go with him before he is found out by the other detectives. It soon becomes clear that Anton is doing this more out of insecurity and is more concerned with how Vincent has managed to get the better of him, despite his supposed genetic superiority.
Vincent and Anton settle their dispute the way they did when they were kids, by seeing who could swim further out into the ocean. As it happens Vincent rises up and beats Anton and saves him from drowning. This is simply because he refused to save any strength for the swim back; he is willing to risk everything to succeed. This is a perfect example of a fight of the underdog; Vincent used all his strength and beat his brother despite his genetic disadvantages.
In conclusion, the film shows many themes of prejudice and discrimination towards Vincent, simply because of his genetic make-up, but this film is about the fight of the underdog and how Vincent rose up and reached his goal despite being put down his whole life and being “inferior” to his brother, friends and co-workers. As Vincent says in the film “there is no gene for fate” simply meaning that anyone can do anything if they put the head and heart towards and have enough courage to do so, and at the end of the day everyone is equal regardless of race, religion or genetic make-up.