The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and New Media

This past Friday, taking advantage on how films have become more available to us, I rented “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” from Redbox, right outside a chain superstore. I heard that Rooney Mara, the girl who played the tattooed girl, was an Oscar nominee for best actress in a leading role.  So I thought, the movie has to be good. Aside from her excellent performance, the movie itself is a great example about identity, technology, and culture that characterizes new media.

The plot is on how Mara as the role of Lisbeth Salander, a young computer hacker, along with journalist Mikael Blomkvist (played Daniel Craig) are hired by a powerful rich man, Henrik Vanger, to help him find his great-niece Harriet, who he suspects was murdered 36 years ago by a member of his family.  Both Lisbeth and Blomkvist uncover a series of barbaric crimes committed 40 years ago in relation to Harriet’s disappearance, before finding the real killer and Harriet alive.

Lisbeth during the plot, becomes both the victim of abuse and the avenging, as she takes revenge on her legal guardian who physically and sexually abused her.  As a young, petite, social-unfitted woman, once taken advantage for her physical appearance, she gains control through information.  As a computer wiz, Lisbeth is able to video tape the moment she’s been abused and use it to her advantage to blackmail her abuser. She threatens her legar guardian that no only she has that video that proofs the abuse, but if anything happens to her or any other innocent girl under his care, the video will go ‘viral’ and everyone will know what happened. After this, the abuse stops.

Throughout the movie, we see that all characters use iMac laptops, as if to denote coolness, knowledge, and the last innovation of technology.  Lisbeth is able to hack bank accounts and passwords from Hans-Erik Wennerström – a corrupt billionaire financier and responsible for Blomkvist fall – to steal over 2 billion dollars to later deposit to her account. Although the culture of a homeless female is perceived as weak and helpless at the mercy of males to abuse her, it is her ability and knowledge to extract and hack information what gives her power and enables her to regain her life.

In an analogy to reality, information has become the new economy in new media. We all know the power and consequences of a video or photograph going viral on the Internet, and how Facebook for example, tailors its advertising based on what we like and who our friends are; or the aftermaths of seeing an identity stolen over the Internet. Although the movie “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is an extreme on the use of new media, it gives us a glimpse on how valuable information and technology can be.

References:

movieclips [movieclips]. (2011, June 2). The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo HD Trailer – David Fincher Version [Video file]. Retrieved from http://youtu.be/WVLvMg62RPA

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