Leadership In The Theaters: "Don't Breathe"

Leadership In The Theaters: "Don't Breathe"

Taking leadership classes has forced me to look for leadership everywhere I go.

As a student taking leadership classes at the University of Richmond, my brain has been engrained to find leadership qualities in every scenario, situation, movie, theatre production, etc. Therefore, when I saw the movie Don't Breathe at the movie theater the other day, I couldn't help but analyze leadership within the film: Did the leader exhibit successful or failed leadership? Why are the leaders in the movie seen as leaders?

Don't Breathe is about three thieves from Detroit, Rocky, Alex, and Money, who decide to break in to a house that is sitting on thousands of dollars. The owner of this house happens to be a blind veteran. Despite the guilt that the three characters should have been feeling about robbing a blind man that fought for their country, they agreed to carry out the burglary, assuming he was an easy target. To their surprise, their victim successfully locks them in the house and kills two of the thieves, even with no vision at all. Throughout the panic, two forms of leadership ensue.

Money, performed by Daniel Zovatto, is your typical rebellious young adult. He has tattoos, piercings, and wears baggy clothing. Whenever the camera rests on him, the lighting is typically dark and dusky. He fits the criteria of a modern leader with bad intentions, directing his followers into wrong. As their leader, Money is responsible for reporting back to their overall “boss” that pays the three thieves for the items that they steal in their robberies.

The boss tells Money of the blind man and his fortune, encouraging him to gather his team to rob the veteran while also promising him a small stipend. Leading Alex and Rocky into the house, they split up to search for the money and later reconvene because the fortune is no where to be found. While they are together, the blind man appears having heard ruckus from the comfort of his bed. As the leader, Money decides to come clean and, being the rebellious, no-good man he is, pulls a gun on the blind man. Out of annoyance for the intrusion and in defense, the blind man wrestles Money for the gun, succeeds, and shoots Money dead. In recent movies, I have found that main characters, especially heroes and supposed leaders, are not destined with a happy ending. Hollywood attracts audiences with unexpected plot twists such as this.

After seeing this movie, I pondered on why we consider characters like Money to be leaders. I assume due to his fearlessness, his bold manner, and his recklessness. Sure, we look to fearless leaders to guide us through struggle and strife, but is it right to look to these leaders if the path that they lay for us is the path to evil or wrongdoing? Be that as it may, when the initial leader dies, resigns, or disappears in a production, a new leader is bound to step forward. In this case, our arising leader is Alex.

Alex, performed by Dylan Minnette, is shy and conservative. As in any typical Hollywood production, the quieter character always overcomes the obnoxious one, therefore it was clear that Alex would eventually overthrow Money. Alex loves Rocky, the female lead played by Jane Levy, from afar, being too nervous to ever admit his feelings for her. Therefore, when their leader is killed and they are trapped in the blind man’s house, Alex knows it is up to him to stand up to the challenge and lead himself and Rocky to safety. The two are faced with endless struggle: physical attacks by the blind man, falling through floorboards, getting tied up, being shot. They begin to question whether or not they will make it out of the house alive. Alas, being a leader comes with responsibilities, and in this case it is risking your life for the sake of others. Alex devises a plan to get Rocky out of the house unharmed, but he will have to endanger his own life in order to do so. As a result, Alex is killed, and Rocky eventually escapes, all according to plan.

Alex is an example of a leader that viewers enjoy surveying. He has good intentions, puts others before himself, and when faced with right and wrong, always chooses right. When Alex is seen on camera, his outfit is always very put together, even during the grapples he endures. He also seems very clean throughout the movie until the very end when he is shot and bleeds to death. These aspects of being put together along with uniform cleanliness make it clear that the director of the movie truly wants the audience to idolize Alex.

When analyzing the leadership tactics between Money and Alex, Alex is undeniably a more respected and superior leader. Money leads his followers into danger out of greed, risking their lives for his own wealth. He also treats Alex and Rocky with disrespect. In the Leadership Studies classes I have taken at the University of Richmond, I have been taught over and over again that a leader truly cares for the people and puts their needs before his or her own. If you are elected to represent an organization or group of people, they are your responsibility and come first. Jeopardizing their safety is positively not an option. Alex exemplifies this trait by imperiling his own safety for the sake of someone else’s. All romantic feelings set aside, he does care for Rocky and truly wants her to survive, even if it means he will not.

Don’t Breathe teaches its viewers what a leader is by modeling exactly what a leader is not. I find this to be a very effective strategy. It is very easy to drill into someone’s brain the qualities of an efficient leader, but it is also important to be aware of the characteristics or actions that can allow a leader to lose his or her credibility. Comparing and contrasting two leaders makes it easier to understand what a good leader is and what it is not. This movie in particular has the perfect characters to do this with. When you find yourself evaluating different leaders, you must ask yourself, “Who would you rather have as a leader?” “Who best represents you?” and “Who would you trust to successfully lead you in difficulty?”

Cover Image Credit: SciFiNow

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it


Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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The Football World Loses One Of Its Finest Players

Bart Starr passed away and NFL players, coaches, and fans all mourn the loss of the Packer legend, but his life and career will live on in hearts of Packer nation forever.


Bart Starr passed away at the age of 85 in Birmingham, Alabama. The NFL lost a great player. The Green Bay Packers lost a hero. And, the world lost a true gentleman. Starr's legacy has surpassed his accomplishments on the gridiron. He inspired not only his peers but the generations that have come after him. He is — and always — will be remembered as a Hall of Famer, a champion, and a Packer.

Bart Starr was a Packers legend. Starr led Green Bay to six division titles and five world championships. As the quarterback of Vince Lombardi's offense, he kept the machine going and executed the plays like no other. His mastery of the position was a large part of the Packers success in the 1960s. Starr was also the perfect teammate for the perfect team. His leadership put him in command of the Packers. Starr's time in Green Bay will not be forgotten by former players, coaches, and the fans.

Bart Starr's resume is rivaled by few in NFL history. He played in 10 postseason games and won 9 of them. He led the Packers to victory in Super Bowls I and II and won the MVP award in both games. He was the MVP of the league in 1966 and was named to the NFL All-Decade Team of the 1960s. The Packers retired his number 15 and Starr has been inducted into the Packers and Pro Football Hall of Fame.

After his playing days, Starr would become the head coach of the Packers. He could not repeat the success he had on the field from the 1960s teams. His coaching years do not take away from his legacy as one of the all-time great Packers. Starr was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.

One of Starr's last visits to Lambeau field was on a cold November night in 2015. Starr and his wife attended a ceremony in which the Packers retired Brett Favre's jersey number. Starr was the perfect personification of what it meant to be a Packer. His most heroic moment came in the 1967 NFL Championship Game. The Ice Bowl came down to a third and goal in Lambeau Field's south endzone against the Dallas Cowboys. Starr came to the sidelines and bravely told Vince Lombardi that he can sneak it in for a game-winning touchdown. Lombardi then replied, "Run it, and let's get the hell out of here." Starr ran a quarterback sneak for the game-winner and the Packers were off to Super Bowl II. Without Starr, Green Bay would not have won a second straight Super Bowl. His leadership in big game moments will live with Packers fans for a lifetime.

Vince Lombardi: A Football Life - The Ice Bowl

Starr leaves behind his wife Cherry, his son, and three granddaughters. Packers fans will have a tight grip on the memories Bart Starr and the 60s teams created. Starr left behind a template for being a Green Bay Packer. He also left a template for being a good man and a gentleman of the game of football. He was a competitor and a leader. Packer nation mourns for the loss of one of the finest human beings the game has seen.

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