A.O. Scott revisits ‘Gattaca’

Posted by · 11:53 am · August 26th, 2009

I must say I’m really enjoying the New York Times’s Critics’ Picks video series — the clips are short, sweet and to the point, the discussion in them lucid, and the selections impeccable. Occasionally rather imaginative, too, as with A.O. Scott’s latest pick of Andrew Niccol’s 1997 masterpiece “Gattaca.”

The film was sadly neglected on release, scoring a paltry $12 million gross (against a budget three times the size) and a solitary Oscar nod for art direction. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration, however, to name it one of the greatest sci-fi films of all time, one whose crisp, chilly technical trappings allow the unnerving human desperation of the story to shimmer through. (Jude Law, meanwhile, was robbed of every supporting gong going.) Happily, it seems to have gathered a number of devotees over the year; even more happily, we’re in good company with Scott.




→ 24 Comments Tags: , , | Filed in: Daily

24 responses so far

  • 1 8-26-2009 at 12:01 pm

    El Rocho said...

    Gattaca is one of the greatest sci-fi films ever made and one of the most underrated films of all time.

  • 2 8-26-2009 at 12:12 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Oh wow, nice find. Love this movie. It has a secure spot in my list of the best of the 90s.

  • 3 8-26-2009 at 12:27 pm

    david said...

    I really like Gattaca and agree it’s underrated, but it’s just so damn sterile. Jude Law is the film’s only pulse of life. Talk about an actor that just seems to always flourish in supporting roles.

  • 4 8-26-2009 at 12:58 pm

    The InSneider said...

    Fucking brilliant film. This made me wanna watch it again. Incredible score.

  • 5 8-26-2009 at 1:05 pm

    Eric said...

    I loved this movie. Gave me chills…

  • 6 8-26-2009 at 1:07 pm

    Jeremy said...

    I completely agree with you, Guy. And I think that’s the first time I’ve ever said that. So that’s something.

    By the way, apparently Joss Whedon would routinely listen to the score while writing episodes of “Firefly”. I thought that was pretty neat.

  • 7 8-26-2009 at 1:30 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    “it’s just so damn sterile”

    And that’s the point, no?

  • 8 8-26-2009 at 1:33 pm

    Silencio said...

    Don’t remember why, but it didn’t stick with me.

  • 9 8-26-2009 at 1:34 pm

    Tom said...

    This is one of my favorite movies. I forced my friends to watch this a few months ago. They all loved it and couldn’t believe they hadn’t heard of it before.

    Looking forward to next weekend when Scott and Phillips take over “At the Movies” from the Bens next weekend!

  • 10 8-26-2009 at 1:35 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Seriously, that score. Makes me shiver.

  • 11 8-26-2009 at 1:40 pm

    sally p said...

    “Gattaca” has always stayed with me because it contains extremely haunting scenes , and it is directed with a very low key & moody touch. I can still remember the film’s great cinematography & wonderful ” set pieces”. I agree ( even though it low budget) . It is definitely one of the most underrated sci-fi movies in the last 20 years. I just loved the ” less is more approach” to this incredible film.

    When the well-regarded Jersey Films disbanded, I was heartbroken because they produced quality films & took many artistic risks : Pulp Fiction , Out of Sight( another example of great cinematography ) , Get Shorty, Erin Brockovich , Reality Bites, Garden State, Gattaca, etc…

  • 12 8-26-2009 at 1:57 pm

    Jack said...

    The scene at the end with Anton and Vincent swimming and Vincent saying “I never saved anything for the swim back” always gives me chills. Its score is one of the best in recent memory

  • 13 8-26-2009 at 2:01 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Jeremy: We’ve never agreed before? Ouch. Glad we could start somewhere ;)

    David: I don’t think Law is too shabby in lead roles either.

  • 14 8-26-2009 at 2:30 pm

    R.J. said...

    I got the DVD a few months ago, bought it on a whim and had never seen it, and after watching it it became one of the favorites. It’s such a haunting film and vastly underrated.

  • 15 8-26-2009 at 2:58 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    Just as an aside, Ted Kennedy, the man who really pushed (successfully) for an anti-genoism bill died today.

  • 16 8-26-2009 at 5:09 pm

    Mr. Harmonica said...

    Nyman’s score stands its ground against the classics.

    One of the best scores ever.

  • 17 8-26-2009 at 5:26 pm

    Christopher said...

    This is a great film which never seems to date, the debate it puts up will forever be relevant. Studied this in high school (as did most student doing VCE, in Australia) and has stayed with me ever since.

  • 18 8-26-2009 at 5:52 pm

    Mike said...

    I love Gattaca and I agree with everything you said about it. I’m glad the film (and based on the comments the nothing short of a brilliant score) is being appreciated.

  • 19 8-26-2009 at 5:56 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Can’t believe I forgot to mention the score in the body of the post. As you’ve all said, it’s a stunner — and one instance where the Academy REALLY dropped the ball. (Brownie points to the Golden Globes in this case.)

  • 20 8-26-2009 at 6:45 pm

    Josh said...

    Great, great movie that’s far better than when I saw it at age 13 and may not have fully grasped everything; even then, though, I enjoyed the movie. For me, it’s watching Jude Law grasp at those stairs, trying to help out, that still gives me chills.

  • 21 8-26-2009 at 7:10 pm

    Encore Entertainment said...

    How c0ol. Just wrote a review of this. Love this movie…Jude Law was indeed off the chain…that people don’t know this movie sucks…science fiction hasn’t been done as good since except…maybe…Minority Report. The link below.

    http://encorentertainmnt.blogspot.com/2009/08/science-fiction-done-well.html

  • 22 8-27-2009 at 1:29 pm

    THE Diego Ortiz said...

    I got to watch this movie in high school. We were studying biology and the teacher found an excuse to show the movie to us. I remember him telling us that “GATTACA” is a DNA code or something.

  • 23 9-29-2009 at 2:46 pm

    Timur said...

    Одни комплементы, хоть бы кто чего умного написал…

  • 24 10-06-2009 at 5:58 am

    Assirius said...

    Все тут нормально, обновления только бы почаще появлялись и вообще супер будет.