Both the novel 1984, by George Orwell, and the film Gattaca, directed by Andrew Niccol (1997), belong in the dystopian genre. A dystopia is a society that is ruled by injustice or suffering, and such stories usually take place in the future. Because of their shared genre, these two works have numerous similarities.
In the society of 1984, Winston Smith is an ordinary worker and member of the Party that controls Airstrip One of Oceania, formerly known as Great Britain. In Oceania, the Thought Police literally monitor citizens’ thoughts in order to eliminate all individual or divergent thought from the populace. This intensive surveillance is an intrusive method the government uses to exercise authoritarian rule over the people. Smith, who privately hates the Party and its ruler Big Brother, bravely defies the oppressive rules of the regime in a plot that exposes the evils of fascism and the horrific possibilities of sacrificing one’s freedom for one’s security.
Similarly, the government in Gattaca has imposed an agenda of eugenics on its citizens in order to eliminate genetic imperfections. The film’s protagonist, Vincent Freeman, is a so-called “in-valid” whose parents conceived him naturally in a world where most babies are created in a lab. While Gattaca’s society has technically outlawed discrimination based on one’s status as a “valid” or “in-valid,” Freeman faces insurmountable prejudice when pursuing his dream of space travel. While the consequences for violating the society's norms about genetic makeup aren’t as severe as those present in 1984, Freeman still risks punishment and being ostracized in order to combat the unjust conditions to which he is subjected.
The dystopian aspect of both texts is one in which technology is used to classify and control the masses.