Astrology: Film: ‘Trance’ (2013)

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“Now, what did I do with that Goya?” That’s the life-and-death question that sends Simon (James McAvoy) running for a hypnotist in Danny Boyle’s Trance. The professional whom Simon consults is gorgeous Elizabeth Lamb (Rosario Dawson) who quickly figures out that her client is in deep trouble, the details of which are spooled over the first several minutes of the movie.

Simon, who works in a posh art auction house, has been well trained to “don’t be a hero” during an art heist. Turns out that Simon is part of this heist of Goya’s painting “Witches in the Air.” But when the moment comes to hand over the prize to gang leader Franck (Vincent Cassel), Simon instinctively withholds it. In the ensuing scuffle, Simon sustains a serious head injury and, when he regains consciousness, he has no idea where he secured the artwork.

Elizabeth is essentially a Neptune wrangler – the planet’s fluid domain rules dreams and meditational states – and knows she can help Simon. She tells Franck she wants to partner up with the gang. And suddenly the narrative’s breakneck speed gets more complicated as the Neptunian trance-like blur between good guys and bad guys gets smokier by the second.

In addition to the heavy overlay of Neptune – it also rules addictive behavior of all kinds, which ties in closely with Simon’s exceptional proclivity to fall into trance – the movie also plays with Pluto’s penchant for control among the protagonists and for revealing previously hidden material, including content lying deep within the recesses of the brain.

Trance, which offers up some delicious mind games played both on the surface and below it, is a paean to Lethe, the mythic underworld river of forgetfulness, which flowed, according to Ovid, through the cave of Hypnos, the god of sleep. With Trance, doze off at your own peril.

Astrology Film Rating: ♆ (Neptune)

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