Test-Tube Dystopia 

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

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