First-time director Andrew Niccol, who also wrote the script, brings considerable visual style and an intriguing, only-too-timely premise to this story of a Brave New Worldish society in which the preplanned, genetically made-to-order elite get all the honors and opportunities, and the "natural" births are relegated to the grunt work. Ethan Hawke plays Vincent Freeman, a natural who borrows the identity of one of the elite to fulfill his lifelong dream of leading a mission to outer space. The film suffers from unevenness, sketchy characters and muted acting; however, Niccol's striking images make it easy to overlook the dramatic flaws.