TOPIC: "Gattaca supports the belief that nature, despite its flaws, is preferable to an error-free genetically engineered existence." Do you agree?

Essay by oceanique_reveHigh School, 12th gradeA+, May 2004

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"Consider God's handiwork: who can straighten what he hath made crooked?" (Ecclesiastes 7:13). Such is the opening quote and the thesis of director Andrew Nichol's film Gattaca (1997). Although the film is based on the lives of genetically engineered human beings and the effects that such have on the "invalids", that is those who are "God-children", it deeply criticises the values of a society of "valids" through its satirical tone and the use of film noir techniques. Gattaca not only supports the belief that nature, despite its flaws, is preferable to a supposed error-free genetically engineered existence, but it also advocates that nobody should "tamper with" what "[God] has made crooked." Through the medium of the film, director Nichols attempts to encourage viewers that humanism can defeat genetics and that science has simply gone too far.

Throughout the film, Gattaca tackles the debate over the influence of nature versus nurture, and ultimately finds nurture in the form of humanism, to be by far more successful than a genetically "perfect" birth.

This is symbolised in the game of chicken played by Vincent and Anton, both as children and as adults. Although their mother Marie knows that Vincent "will do something" someday, genetics tries its hardest to prove her wrong. This is evident when, at the beginning of the film, Anton, the "valid" child, continuously wins the game as he is stronger and "has no excuse to fail." The paradigm shifts when Vincent wins for the first time, proving that the human spirit can overcome genetic imperfection and can emerge victoriously over a supposed high "genetic quotient." Such an idea is proven even further during the course of the film, particularly during the scene where Vincent must cross the road without his contact lenses, in order to meet Irene on the other...