Astrology: Film: ‘White House Down’ (2013)

Columbia Pictures

They say you should dress for the job you want, not the job you already have. In Roland Emmerich’s White House Down, decorated Afghanistan war veteran John Cale (Channing Tatum) orchestrates a new-career move when he spontaneously takes on the mantle of a secret service agent during a large-scale attack on the nation’s capitol, saving President Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) and the country in the process.

As for a task-appropriate wardrobe, Cale makes his point by eventually stripping down to a hero-evoking, John McClanesque white cotton undershirt.

Cale’s fateful morning starts optimistically. A bodyguard by day, he interviews with  Carol Finnerty (Maggie Gyllenhaal) for his secret service dream job. Citing his unstable resume, she rejects his application. While licking his wounds, Cale meets up with his  teen daughter, Emily (Joey King) – she’s icy towards dad who’s been an absent father, and addresses him as “John” – who’s taking a White House tour. Shortly after, the nightmare of Plutonic destruction begins, and father and daughter become separated in the mayhem.

The movie gradually reveals the bad guys to be domestic right-wing terrorists who vehemently oppose the Middle East peace treaty that the President is trying to broker. The person behind it all is motivated by another side of Pluto: diabolical revenge that’s payback for the death (Pluto) of his loved one at war.

To balance the nihilism, White House Down gracefully weaves in Sawyer’s fondness for Abraham Lincoln who, in more positive and transformational Pluto fashion, helped create a new nation out of the ashes of the Civil War. And comic relief is provided throughout by a fastidious detail-obsessed tour guide, who laments the smaller-scale Plutonic smashing of singular historic artifacts, even as the entire White House crumbles and burns.

At the very beginning of the movie, as he tends to his day job as a bodyguard for the U.S. speaker of the House (Richard Jenkins), Cale observes a squirrel that’s boldly invaded a birdfeeder and chides the rodent. It’s a fitting image for what transpires over the course of the movie.

Astrology Film Rating: ♇ (Pluto)

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