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Film Analysis, The Last Castle

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In the film, The Last Castle, I found many aspects and theories that involve organizational communication throughout the movie. The film is about a US prison where the prisoners have formally served in the military and have committed crimes while serving their time. The movie shows how the prisoners come together when a former well-respected general is sent there to overpower the man that runs the facility.

The first theory and probably the most noted theory is the Adaptive Structuration Theory of Marshall Scott Poole. Poole's theory states, "Members in groups are creating the group as they act within it... A lot of times people in groups build up structures or arrangements that are very uncomfortable for them, but they don't realize that they're doing it. The point of structuration theory is to make them aware of the rules and resources that they're using so that they can have more control over what they do in groups."(Poole, 245) In other words, Poole is saying that we have the control as a part of the group to let one or two people take control and set the tone of the group. In the movie's case, General Irwin doesn't come in there and take control of the prison. He is basically appointed by the other inmates because of his bright ideas, domineering behavior, and connections on the outside. They let him tell them what to do because they know that he will lead them successfully.

The group will use the phase model on page 245 to reach an agreement on what to do. The model starts with orientation, where efforts are unfocused because group goals are unclear, relationships are uncertain, and members need more information. This relates to Yates, the hustler, when everyone warns Irwin that he cannot be trusted because he is about to be released from the prison and he is a known nark. This also relates to the fact that they are unsure on exactly how to overcome Col. Winters. They come up with many plans to try to make him leave and this is how the group began to form in the first place. The inmates all knew they wanted Col. Winters gone so one by one they joined up to render a plan.

The next step of the model is conflict, in which factions disagree on how to approach the problem and argue against other viewpoints, and members justify their own position. An example of this is when Aguilar, the stuttering marine, wants to help build the wall the inmates were building. One other inmate ridicules him and tells him he is doing it all wrong, but Aguilar's father is a mason and has taught him the correct way to brick a wall. He stands strong and when the group begins to form he is made the head mason when they rebuild the wall under Irwin's orders. Another example would be when Aguilar gets in trouble in the beginning of the movie for saluting the General and is punished by standing out in the rain. When General Irwin tells him he doesn't have to continue out his punishment he is then punished by Col. Winters for trying to go over what he said even though it was pointed out that the punishment was illegal.

The third step of the phase model is coalescence, where tensions are reduced through peaceful negotiation, and members allow others to "save face" by adopting solutions acceptable to all. An example is when Thumper and the other guy are fighting in the yards and the sirens start to go off. Thumper refuses to drop down



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