Watch the sci-fi flick Gattaca and you’ll be repulsed by how discriminatory the futuristic society portrayed in the film happens to be.
Or, you’ll be on the edge of your seat during the more thriller-like, spy-film gotcha moments when Ethan Hawke’s Vincent Freeman character is SURE to get caught. (He is, after all, inferior, right? How could he NOT get caught?!)
But what you won’t be, is stunned by just how much better life is on the faraway Saturnian moon of Titan, Vincent’s end goal throughout the movie. That’s because, although it is set up as a goal point very early on, writer/director Andrew Niccol made a conscious–and smart–decision not to let that goal distract from the broader, more thought-provoking theme in the movie: discrimination based on genetic make-up; clearly the darker side of the very technological advances that make it possible for humanity to rocket out to Saturn in the first place.
Imagine how much less you’d be on the edge of your seat if, instead of watching Vincent evade gene-sniffers, you had to watch him sitting in his rocket ship Titan-bound. For the entire movie.
Sometimes when you have a story to tell, it’s important not to lose sight of that story. It’s hard to do, especially when there’s likely a whole different story you could be telling. But could and should aren’t the same. And you don’t always have an audience as captive as a man in a rocket ship on his way out to Saturn.