Is a perfect life really perfect? The philosophical background of the film is almost based on the revival of this problem in the human mind.
From the late 90’s to this time; We know that genetic engineering, cloning and genome projects are popularly occupying the world’s agenda, and they have carried out this invasion for very good reasons. Because these genome projects are the only way for the idea of a superior race, from old-time oculists to Nazis, to be realized. Although it is obvious that these projects are a fascist idea, we will discuss the ethics and anti-humanistic nature of these projects on the scenes of the movie below.
But we must not forget that, as Vincent said, there is no gene that determines fate.
Scene 1 – Showering and getting ready before work
Vincent rubs it hard in the shower as if to destroy his cells, then sets it on fire to get rid of any residue left in the shower. Here we can see his anger at himself , his blatant hatred of being a godly child . Afterwards, the care taken in the preparation process before going to work is also quite remarkable. From a Freudian point of view, we can say that the only object of love left in his hands is his dreams, as the mechanism he created to tie the bladder, Eugene’s injecting blood into the finger tissue showed immense interest in achieving his ideals.
Scene 2- The entrance to Gattaca
Again, this scene, which we saw in the first minutes of the movie, draws our attention with its futuristic architectural structure. As a result of the only world order, people’s dressing in suits like uniforms and dressed in black symbolizes an existential despair, and their passage through the turnstiles while entering Gattaca, their posture while working, and their touches resemble a robot army. We can explain this situation with the social learning theory of behaviorism. According to Bandura, many models of human behavior are learned through observation. By observing the behavior of other individuals, they gain knowledge of the consequences of that behavior and adapt it to themselves. In other words, these perfect people adapt to exist in society and minimize their differences.
Scene 3- Vincent’s desk at work
Vincent quickly performs the task given on the keyboard, while simultaneously cleaning between the keys in order not to leave any tissue residue, and just then, his manager comes and gives him the good news that he will go to Titan by saying praiseworthy words. Vincent impassively only asks when it will be and goes back to work. In fact, deep fears underlie their behavior, which seems like a narcissistic personality structuring indicator, and the feeling of inferiority created by the fixations from their early ages also manifests itself.
Scene 4-Vincent going back in time and telling about his birth
He begins by reproaching his family for being born as the fruit of love, and the most important part is the scene where he was born and blood is drawn from his heel, in the first second of his life, he is exposed to genetic racism and opens his eyes to the world as a hopeless case. We can see the regret in his father’s eyes while listing the psychological and pathological problems that he can be caught based on probabilities. Although his mother is happy, everything seems to be the opposite for the father figure, who is an important idol for the boy.
Scene 5 – The scene where the father measures the height of his children
Adler often speaks of sibling rank and its importance. But at first, the thesis of the importance of birth order for the imperfect brother and perfect brother, which this theory gives importance to, seems to be refuted. The fact that Anton is taller, swims better, and is well-rounded in his health and development causes the seeds of inferiority complex to be planted in Vincent. The wrong guidance of Anton by his family is also one of the main sources of this conflict.
Scene 6 – To Vincent and his family at the breakfast table
Siblings who have entered adolescence have begun to experience identity confusion and identity confusion. The family again becomes a hindrance to Vincent at this point. Although the statements that it is impossible to be an astronaut are useful in terms of creating reverse psychology, they also caused Vincent to be isolated from his family ties. In this situation, the behaviorist Watson thinks that fear, anger and love are reflexes on which all behavior is built. It holds parents responsible for the transformation of these feelings into positive or negative behaviors. This is how Vincent was born, due to the imperfect nature of his parents. The family has developed a defense mechanism and they are trying to relieve their own consciousness by completely reflecting this to their children.
Scene 7- The brothers compete at sea for the second time
Pressured by his family’s pressure and inferiority complex, Vincent beats his brother while swimming this time. Since this complex has created a huge wall in his mind, his motivation that everything is possible in the world reaches its highest level when it is broken.
Scene 8 – Getting to work in Gattaca
For Vincent, even though he started working as a cleaner, there was a natural reinforcer that caused him to become operantly conditioned. One step closer to the stars and his dreams, Vincent is confronted by a doctor and the perfect Eugene (Jerome) who will help him illegally. He has undergone surgeries to take his identity and look exactly like him. This includes a painful experience such as stretching her legs. Doing such a thing for the sake of her ideals has strengthened the trust between Eugene and the two of them. The name Eugene, on the other hand, means the perfect one in ancient Greek and Jerome still uses it as a middle name, despite the obstacle. It is an indication that he has a narcissistic personality organization. And the fact that he is always second throughout his life proves that he has an inferiority complex.
Scene 9- Vincent and Eugene’s dinner scene
Although it is unknown how the duty manager was killed, it is a situation that works for Vincent, and although he tries to be calm, it is the first time that he takes shelter in a stress reliever such as cigarettes throughout the movie. And the comparison of going into space during a meal with taking shelter in the womb tells us that he has not yet fully overcome his subconscious self-confidence.
Scene 10- DNA helix details
A ladder resembling the DNA helix in the house has been placed. In one scene, Vincent looks down at the true owner of the DNA he’s carrying from the top steps to Eugene below. The real mister implying that he is the perfect himself. In addition, in the upper right corner of the transaction screens in Gattaca, the infinity logo appears in the upper right corner, and the dagger logo appears for the invalid ones. If you are not perfect, you are doomed to perish. He has interpreted the subtext well.
Scene 11 – Irene and Vincent getting close
The thing that attracts our couple, who started dating after the invitation they attended, is that they are both flawed, that is, the children of God. The perception of inadequacy created by being born with the birth of faith becomes perfect when the two come together. Although Irene has started to approach Vincent with a skeptical bias, she has a deep belief that they are destiny partners. Although their first sensual union shows that the two imperfections actually have real perfection, the ecological pressures they experience reveal the hatred that Vincent feels for his own body and his false personality in the morning.
Scene 12 – Detective Anton raids the house
Realizing that the one who works with the name Jerome in Gattaca is his brother Vincent, the detective tries to play every trump to catch the truth, but this time to beat his brother, who passed him in his last races. The number of people who support the power of his flawed brother’s faith is so high that Anton’s effort for superiority here will go unanswered.
Scene 13- Brother and sister’s third and final competitions
Halfway through, Anton wants to return again for various reasons, and his confidence in his perfection has never been fully formed. And when he asked Vincent, ‘how did you do that? ‘ in response to the question ‘never leaving anything behind,’ his answer was in a single sentence explaining how full of deficiencies their symbiotic relationship with Anton was.
Scene 14 – Reaching the Stars
The fact that the doctor let Vincent get on the space shuttle knowing that he is flawed due to his passion for his dreams, and that he expresses his admiration for him by referring to his son is an indication that Vincent has finally achieved his ideal self.
With the launch of Vincent’s shuttle into space; Thinking that every atom in our body comes from the stars, Vincent’s saying that he did not actually leave the world on his way to the stars, he went from the world of phenomena to the world of real (ideas) is the most crucial scene of the movie. And Anton’s suicide by burning himself simultaneously with the shuttle describes a form of suicide based on the desire that every atom of him, without exception, be wiped out of this world and go where we truly belong.
It is the differences that make people and humanity come into existence, and to characterize them as flaws overshadows the perfection that each individual has in a different way. As stardust, we are making a kind of interstellar travel. And we call the unit of time we spend at the world stop ‘life’. In order to live this life, maybe there are people we need to adapt to, maybe we have experiences that we need to develop various defense mechanisms and suppress, but none of them can prevent us from knowing our true selves and reaching our ideals.