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Written by Connie Skibinski
Evocative natural imagery
Scenes of the world natural world outside the Gattaca institute are bathed in an optimistic gold glow. These scenes include the first scene set at the Gattaca institute and the flashback to Vincent's conception, where a distinct golden filter is used on the camera lens to create this glowing effect. Recurrent images of lush grass and trees create a sense of warmth and natural harmony. Natural images also appear in the beach scene where Vincent and Irene fall in love. Throughout the film, this emphasis on nature juxtaposes the sterile nature of the society and illustrate that true beauty and perfection is found in the natural world, not in man's manipulation of nature.
Clinical images within the Gattaca institute
In contrast to the optimistic images of the outside world, the Gattaca interior is clinical and sterile. The stark white walls and monochrome black suits of the workers reinforce this lack of warmth and humanity. In this way, images of the interior are indicative of the emotionless nature of the society. Furthermore, there is a strong emphasis on cleanliness, illustrated by the minimalist decorations and the quote "Cleanliness is next to Godliness". This reflects a society which rejects imperfection and promotes strict rules and order.
Scientific imagery plays a large role in 'Gattaca'. This can be seen explicitly through the numerous close up on scientific machines, equipment and spaceships. Another key example is the recurrent image of the double-helix model, representing the shape of DNA. The staircase in Jerome's apartment is shaped in this way to indicate the emphasis that the society places on genetic perfection. This staircase is also evident in a number of scenes which are crucial for the plot, for example, when wheel-chair bound Jerome drags himself up the spiral staircase in an unprecedented moment of determination and drive.
Costuming is used to emphasis social segregation, as it shows the stark contrast between the valids and invalids. Within the Gattaca institute, invalids wear monochrome grey jumpsuits, representing their low standing in society. By contrast, valids wear suits, indicative of their success and elite status.
Images of fire are used throughout the film as a symbol of destruction, as fire is a means by which Vincent burns and conceals traces of his inferior DNA. Fire imagery also plays a vital role in the final scene. Here, juxtaposition occurs between the fire lifting Vincent's spaceship towards the stars and the fire which consumes Jerome in the incinerator. Here, fire represents both absolute success and complete destruction, and strengthens the parallels between the two characters' lives.
There are numerous close-ups of Jerome's second place medal, as this illustrates the irony of his failure. The medal is a strong symbol of the inherent flaws in the society, as "Jerome Morrow was never meant to be one step down on the podium." As well as this, the medal depicts two male figures swimming. This echoes the swimming scene where Vincent and Anton compete against each other, a vital turning point in the film.
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The launches represent Vincent's dream of flying to Titan. He wants the freedom of leaving a world that confines him because of his birth. He wants live on his own terms and prove, mostly to himself, that he is extraordinary.