Plot Points — Gattaca (1997)
Plot points are linear links that make up the chain of traditional Aristotelian 3-act dramatic structure. This classic structure worked well in Hollywood for almost a century now. Although young movie makers are forcing the limits of this structure, plot points still rule the day as the “tent poles” that hold up of the circus of our dreams.
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Gore Vidal, Jude Law, Alan Arkin, Ernest Borgnine
Directed by: Andrew Niccol
Writer: Andrew Niccol (Screenwriter)
PROTAGONIST VINCENT’S DILEMMA: He has to pretend he is somebody else in order to achieve his childhood dream of flying to the stars.
PROTAGONIST’S DESIRE: Flying to Saturn.
PROTAGONIST’S OBSTACLE: His inferior genes.
ESTABLISHING SHOT: Vincent Freeman scrubbing in a cold sterile bluish futuristic bathroom, trying to cleanse himself vigorously.
INCITING INCIDENT: Vincent beats his genetically superior brother Antonio in a swimming race, thus proving to himself that he is better than they say he is.
PLOT POINT 1: Vincent makes a commercial deal to borrow the identity of a now-crippled but still genetically perfect ex-athlete Jerome Morrow.
MID POINT EVENT: From an eyelash Vincent-as-Jerome dropped accidentally at the crime scene, Vincent becomes suspect in the murder of the Flight Director who wanted to delay the flight to Saturn.
PLOT POINT 2: Vincent admits to Irene, who is defective genetically, that he is not Jerome and he is as genetically imperfect as she is.
3rd ACT RESOLUTION: After beating all the attempts to catch him and the discovery of the real killer, Vincent boards the spaceship with the unexpected help of the Gattica Corporation’s sympathetic doctor and flies to the stars while the real Jerome Morrow commits suicide by burning himself in the oven.