April 17, 2010



This is a strongly made sci-fi film that explores the idea of genetic selection and the implications there of.  It is an engaging story that doesn’t focus on some massive change in technology but instead the ideas of the technology.  The story blends the sci-fi aspect with romance and some intense thrills, it a film that has all that much fluff.

In the future people are generally conceived and genetically altered so that they are “perfect”.  If you aren’t engineered then you can’t get as good of a job.  Vincent Freeman was born naturally with no genetic alterations and when that happens, there isn’t much you can do, you can’t get a real job.  There are ways around the system, none that are legal, but if you can find someone who looks enough like you and they are willing to supply you with blood, DNA, finger prints, etc. that you need to beat the system.  Vincent does this, working with Jerome Eugene Morrow who was genetically engineered to be great, and when he wasn’t as great as he was supposed to be.  So he lets Vincent pretend to be him, living his life.  The problem starts when an eyelash falls around a crime scene.  He then tries to keep his identity hidden so he can go into space piloting a mission.  He is also wooing Irene Cassini trying to keep his true identity hidden from her.

The acting in this film is very solid.  Vincent is played nicely by Ethan Hawke.   It is a role where he is acting while acting, this is an interesting thing to think about.  They do a good job of using Jude Law for playing Jerome Eugene Morrow.  You don’t really think about Hawke and Law looking all that much like each other, but they actually do a solid job having them look close enough to each other in this film.  Uma Thurman plays Irene and does a solid job as well.  The performances aren’t memorably great as the ideas of presented in the film are what really make it pop.

Visually the film is very solid.  It is a blend of a futuristic world, but it blends a world that we see around us right now.  I think that this blend helps it be focused less on the technology and toys as compared to many sci-fi films that are much more worried about the big picture of all the fun technology that they can show off.  Andrew Niccol does a solid job directing this film and as this was his first direction and he wrote this film as well.

What makes this film pop is the ideas behind it.  The whole idea of genetic selection and perfection as compared to the normal population that is turned out is very interesting.  The talent and the visuals aren’t anything extremely great but they are solid enough to propel the story forward and not get in the way of the story.  It would have been nice to see Niccol continue down this line of film as compared to heading out and making a film like Lord of War which doesn’t work with the same depth.

Entertainment Grade: B+

Critical Grade: C+ *

Overall Grade: B

* On Rotten Tomatoes, if I want to see how the top critics rated it, which was at 50%, but from all the critics overall, it was 82%.


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