Ethan Hawke is never to be underrated but this science fiction classic now on Netflix definitely has been overlooked.
You can almost always count on Ethan Hawke for a great, nuanced performance and the underrated sci-fi Gattaca is no exception. This 1997 film combined an interesting sci-fi setting with some thought-provoking concepts. Add Ethan Hawke, Jude Law, and Uma Thurman to the mix and you have a fantastic recipe for a movie. If you happened to miss this one or if you haven’t revisited it in a while, you can now check it out on Netflix.
Gattaca tells the story of Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke), a man who has big dreams of traveling into outer space. Unfortunately, in this version of the future, his genes make him an In-Valid — someone who was conceived naturally without genetic selection. The Valids are people who are conceived by selecting the best genes from each parent. Though genetic discrimination is technically illegal in this future, Valids are usually hired in more significant roles while In-Valids are usually relegated to more menial positions. Vincent decides to purchase the genes of a valid named Jerome Morrow (Jude Law) to join the Gattaca space program. His plan is thrown into jeopardy when his program director is killed and a police investigation starts. The film is written and directed by Andrew Niccol with Danny DeVito, Michael Shamberg, and Stacey Sher producing.
Gattaca has a great cast bringing the story to life. In addition to Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, and Jude Law, the cast also includes Gore Vidal, Loren Dean, Ernest Borgnine, and Alan Arkin. Gattaca was appreciated by critics upon its release, with a current Rotten Tomatoes score of 81%. Audiences have enjoyed it over time as well, with a current Rotten Tomatoes score of 87%. Despite the respectable reception, the movie didn’t impress at the box office. In fact, the film could be considered a straight-up flop, only pulling in $12.5 million. Despite this, the film has slowly grown its following over the years and it has especially been prevalent because of its story. The film’s dystopian portrayal of genetic engineering has been referenced in arguments against the practice, especially as it becomes a more realistic prospect with our current technological capabilities.
Gattaca came at an interesting time in Ethan Hawke’s career. When it was released, his name certainly wouldn’t have been the draw it is today. In 1995, he appeared in Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise, which would kick off the beloved Before trilogy. Of course, this was an indie film and would also become more well-known over the years. Of course, this was also before his massive hit opposite Denzel Washington in 2001’s Training Day. While Hawke certainly wasn’t an unknown at this time, he would go on to become a much bigger star after Gattaca. This makes it worth revisiting even more since so many people missed it the first time around.
Ethan Hawke hasn’t slowed down since his early Hollywood days, with plenty of recent work for fans to check out. Recently, Hawke became a part of the MCU as the villainous cult leader Arthur Harrow in Moon Knight. Moon Knight is definitely one of the more interesting projects in the Marvel lineup, thanks in no small part to Ethan Hawke’s mesmerizing performance and Oscar Isaac pulling double-duty as the split personality of Marc Spector and Steven Grant. The series also starred May Calamawy and F. Murray Abraham. The entire series is available to stream on Disney+ if you want to see Hawke as the villain. Hawke also appeared in the Nordic revenge saga from Robert Eggers in The Northman.
Ethan Hawke has some additional projects slated to come out this year, so The Northman and Moon Knight won’t be his only acting projects in 2022. He’s also set to appear in Raymond & Ray, which follows two half-brothers reuniting at their father’s funeral. Rodrigo Garcia writes and directs with Ewan McGregor co-starring as Raymond. Hawke is also set to appear in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. The movie will feature Daniel Craig’s southern-fried detective from Rian Johnson’s 2019 film Knives Out returning for another mystery. In addition to Hawke and Craig, Jessica Henwick, Kathryn Hahn, Edward Norton, Dave Bautista, Madelyn Cline, Kate Hudson, Leslie Odom Jr, and Janelle Monae are set to star. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is set to hit Netflix before 2022 is over. In the meantime, make sure to check out Gattaca while it’s streaming.