Set in the "not too distant future," Gattaca addresses issues both topical (genetic engineering) and timeless (a disadvantaged protagonist's rebellion against an ostensibly predetermined fate). The 1997 movie depicts a society in which privileges go to eugenically designed children with advanced physical capabilities and impenetrable resistance to disease, while traditionally conceived offspring — "faith births" — suffer from systematic prejudice. "We now have discrimination down to a science," says Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke), a rueful member of the "In-Valid" ranks. Vincent wants to be an astronaut, but due to his class status, he's told that "the only time you're going to see the inside of a space shuttle is if you're cleaning it." He attempts risky identity-masking subterfuge, with the assistance of disillusioned super-athlete Jerome Morrow (Jude Law). Not only is Gattaca brainier than the average Hollywood sci-fi project but it's also much more emotionally involving, with a tastefully handled romance (involving Uma Thurman), compelling characters and an inspiring spirit. The new HD projector at the Kansas City, Kansas, Public Library (625 Minnesota Avenue, 913-551-3280), where Gattaca screens at 6 p.m., should enhance the flashy visuals that earned the film an Oscar nomination for Best Art Direction/Set Direction. Admission is free.
Thu., Oct. 16, 6 p.m., 2008