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Symbolic Interaction in the movie ‘None stop’ Essay

Symbolic Interaction in the movie ‘None stop’


       Symbolic interaction pertains to the social perspective on oneself and the society. The core idea in this is that humans live in what is known as a symbolic domain. The symbols here are objects which are culturally derived socially with shared meanings which are brought up and maintained through social interaction. Through communication, thought and language, symbols put forward the means for reality construction. What is referred as reality is a social product that is primarily humanly consequential. Culture mind, self and society is dependent on symbolic interaction for its existence and emerges from the same. Even the physical environment that we are living in is taken as being relevant to the conduct of humans, mainly the main reason being it is all interpreted through symbols and the way it interacts with the ones who live in it. There are three key pillars of symbolic interaction. These consist of, the meaning which is the construction of social reality, language which is used to bring up the meaning and thought which are used to internalize the languages to come up with a certain meaning. To show symbolic interaction, I will base my argument on the movie ‘non stop’ by Bill Marks.

       In the Jaume Collet-Serra‘s most recent film, Non-Stop, clearly brings out the concept of symbolic interaction in that its hero receives a chain of mysterious text messages. Here symbolic interaction portrays itself as this hero has to think, internalize and come up with the meaning of what the person in the other end. Liam Neeson, who plays Bill Marks is a United States Air Marshal and he brings with him baggage both factual and symbolic. While he is on a trans-Atlantic flight ending in London, he receives a text message directing that a sum of $150MM be deposited into a bank account. One thing that is put clear in this demand is, if it is not met, one passenger will die. Mark is confused on what to do as he is trying to figure out things, hence this is a clear show of symbolic interaction in this film. After the occurrence of one death, Mark who is helped by a flight attendant and one passenger tries to unravel this misery by trying to find who was making such threats. They do not want to face more deaths and so they must know what these people want so that more deaths cannot be experienced. As mark tries to think what was the meaning of all that, he tries the elimination method where he tries to eliminate the passengers one by one as the possible suspects. One by one, Marks attempts to eliminate each of the passengers as a possible suspect. Nevertheless, the table gradually turns on the marshal, who is suspected of hijacking the plane for ransom money and not the only savior. This becomes even worse after the discovery of a bomb in the other marshal’s briefcase. This also is a big show of symbolic interaction as Mark is confused about want the society rely demands from him.

       The other show of this aspect of this movie is when one is unable to clearly tell who the villain here is as all the characters are straining to achieve two dimensions of the story. There are many suspects ranging from the suspicious bald man with attitude complications, the middle-eastern doctor the unassuming woman insisting on window seats and the black man who won’t let off his sunglasses. There are many questions crossing one’s mind as trying to know who the bad guy is for sure. Mark goes through most scenes in the movie with an air suspicion concerning him.

       He is portrayed as a heavy drinker, not only because he is seen mixing booze with tea before entering the airport, but also his habit of stirring it with his toothbrush. His drinking becomes ultimately how people define him and not something that defines himself. By this language that this movie maker tries to bring up the thoughts which ultimately make people to conclude mark’s drinking problem. This also shows an instance of symbolic interaction in this movie.

       Finally, an aspect of symbolic interaction is seen when it is revealed that the terrorist mastermind was trying to manipulate matters so that Neeson’s marshal appears to be the hijacker. The waving of his gun and roughing up the passengers does not seem to help. As the passengers were really ready to rise against their fake captor, Neeson offers everyone a free international travel for one year.


 Friedkin, William (2014-03-02). “NON-STOP is a great action suspense movie. I highly recommend it.”. Retrieved 2014-03-28.

 Chitwood, Adam (November 8, 2012). “First Synopsis for Director Jaume Collet-Serra’s NON-STOP Starring Liam Neeson”. Collider.com. Retrieved December 11, 2012.

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