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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Dir. Oplev, Niels. Writ. Arcel, Nikolaj, Heisterberg, Rasmus, and Larsson, Steig. Danmarks Radio, 2009. Flim.


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is the first in a series of three Swedish flims based on the trilogy written by Steig Larsson. The antagonist, Lisbeth Salander is a mysterious computer hacker who uses her cyberliteracy to not only make a living, but to solve mysteries aswell.

Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from the island her family owns and inhabits after a community celebration. Her body was never found, but her uncle is convinced it was murder. He hires financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist and the dark, mysterious computer hacker Lisbeth Salander to investigate. The two tie Harriet's disappearance to several murders from almost forty years ago, and discover a dark family history.

Relation to Cybercultures

The protagonist, Lisbeth Salander, uses her cyberliteracy and computer hacking skills to provide a living for herself as a researcher at Milton Security. She is an obvious example of a modern day cyborg because, despite her intelligence, she is essentially powerless without the use of her computer. Lisbeth also utilizes technology in ways similar to that of the Hollaback movement by combating sexual abuse with the use of technology.

Lisbeth is a character who is interesting to examine from a cyberfeminist viewpoint. Cyberfeminists would likely be proud to see a character like Lisbeth represented in print and film because there are few popular pieces of entertainment that feature a female protagonist who is extremely tech-savvy. Salander fits into the typical idea of what a 3rd wave feminist is with her punk appearance and expressions of female sexuality. In addition, Salander embodies the ideal of a genderless being, to a degree, through her online as well as her RL presence. Her character introduces the idea that females can play a significant role in a cyberculture by breaking free from historical female stereotypes and engaging in a commanding leadership role that is made possible by her cyberliteracy.

This film also alludes to the idea of cyber communities. Salander, although a skilled hacker, also utilizes the skills of her hacker friends. One in particular, Plague, is the smartest she knows and plays an integral part in solving the film's final mystery. Plague is also an interesting version of a modern cyborg. He is only shown once in the film, sitting in a dark, impossibly messy room that is filled with computers and gadgets. Salander comes to him because her computer is broken. She is the only person he has face-to-face interactions with. This introduces an interesting perspective on people consumed with virtual realities. Plague is portrayed as socially awkward and dirty. At one brief moment he is even shown using the bathroom with the door open while speaking to Salander at the same time. Salander is also a deeply disturbed individual who avoids almost all social contact and relationships. These two characters give the impression that people preferring to live and work in VR are less likely to properly implement socially acceptable behaviors, an interesting viewpoint.