This movie paints a society in which advanced genetic technology is used to basically divide up the human family into two classes: those who have the right genetic makeup, characterized by a superiority in physical and mental fitness, and those who have defective genetic makeups, characterized by a certain proneness to develop physical and mental degenerate conditions / diseases later in life.
Members of the first class, called 'valids', are given top working positions in society, while second class members, called 'invalids' or 'de-gene-erates', are given inferior type of jobs.
Immediately after birth, a bloodsample is taken, analyzed, and it is immediately determined to which class the person growing out of that baby would belong to.
Through stringent de-facto regulative discrimination based on genetic profiling, it is ruled out that invalids ever get to have job positions that would normally only be available to valids.
The symbolic presence of a glass window separating the two classes strengthens the sense of separation between them.
The public is thus made aware of the future prospect of a genetically defined class segregation between the Elite- or ruling-class and the worker- or servant class. This is already more or less the case in present day society but a 'scientific' backing would surely serve to make the dividing line more rigid and absolute.
However, it should be noted that the movie features two brothers of which one is ruled to be a valid while the other is branded an invalid. I believe that, those responsible for shaping society envision a society which in all likelihood will not only feature two classes, but rather a garden variety of classes in which genetic makeup indeed defines suitability for some certain class while ruling out other classes.
With respect to the power-Elite, I expect genetic discrimination will either not even apply to those people or, if it does, it may be used to verify if someone ultimately does have the right 'bloodline' credentials to belong to some Elite class.
With regard to the public, the viewer is brought up to speed to the idea that ultimately, in the not too distant future, it will be genes deciding to what class you get to belong. The important note is that you do not have any say in or control over the destination of your life.
It is like the old Hindu caste system but this time it's sugar-coated with a touch of scientism. I say scientism rather than science because it is still uncertain whether we are mere slaves of our genes or that we ourselves have the potential to rise from genetic determinism.
In genetic biology until rather recently it was the prevailing norm to assume that the genotype (genetic makeup) is deterministic in shaping and expressing the phenotype (physical characteristics) of the organism. In other words, the genes completely directed the development of the organism. However, this classical viewpoint has now come under siege and biologists such as Bruce Lipton now believe, through legate scientific observation, that it is the environment that determines which genes get to be expressed and which get to be suppressed. Note that the classic viewpoint implies that through some alleged self-regulating mechanism genes themselves coordinate genetic expression.
To the people in power this paradigm shift must seem a rather unwelcome one since people, most notably the 'commoners', now may realize that they are not mere slaves and victims of their genes and have a justification to indeed rise above their delineated potentiality through something as relatively simple as the way in which they perceive themselves.
On entry into a working facility designed for valids, people are forced to identify themselves, through blood testing, so as to ensure that no invalids slip in illegally.
The viewer gets acquainted with a future of a proliferation of mandatory identification methods such as, blood-tests through special blood-sampling thumb scanners and regular blood-tests through administered through old-fashioned syringes. Also urine testing seems to become an admissible indicator for suitability for some working position, implicitly assuming that criteria on a genetic level have been met already. It is stressed again that you, as a person, do not really have a say in the conduct or direction of your life but rather are subjected to the level of your 'genetic fitness' already set in stone at birth.
Stoic people behaving in a conformal and disciplined way like the good little worker-bees they are.
Another remarkable feature in the movie is that it depicts a rather stoic and minimalistic society. It would seem that people of the future are not allowed to express emotions and enjoy themselves too much, given the sparseness of emotive expression combined with a rather bleak and sterile scenery. Is this gloomy prospect to let us know that we are to behave more like robots in the future? Perhaps if and when we have brainchips jammed up in our craniums, or be severely drugged Brave-New-World style, then indeed we will behave more like the good little androids we ought to be.
In romantic happy ending sci-fi movies like this one the programming usually comes with a thread of hope. In this case the movie helps convince the viewer that all is not lost for the unfortunate de-gene-erate. The movie demonstrates that if one works long enough, by persistent cheating no less, one can overcome one's genetic predisposition for banishment to the lower class and thus transcend by fraudulent escape to the upper class.
The movie shows that an important way in establishing who is top dog and who is under dog still is the old-fashioned visual face identification. However, it doesn't show that pretending to be someone else is not a terribly difficult thing to do given the rather vintage low-tech looking visual identification devices. With this inferior type of equipment indeed it seems that two rather similar looking faces cannot be told apart. Hence identity switching or impersonation is a plausible thing to do, the move likes to have us believe.
However, this scenario is unlikely to occur in the technological world of, let's say, 20 years from now, since the high-resolution of the electronic gadgets of then no doubt will feature astounding detail and accuracy. Hence, quite unlike the vintage looking scenarios of the movie, identity falsification of the future will be next to impossible if not totally out of the question altogether.
I believe that giving the movie that 50s/60s vintage look was the reason for tricking the viewer into baiting the false hope that a class-like society is not as rigid as it would seem. Themes like this seem to be part of the hope thread by giving the viewer some respite towards looking to a future in which all is not lost, even when absolute scientific worldwide tyranny has been blatantly brought to the fore. As such, if and when a scientific dictatorship gets to be installed people may have a tendency to not rebel that strongly and thus cause less trouble and resistance to its implementation.