The Pursuit of Absolute Liberty Essay

The Pursuit of Absolute Liberty

It sometimes takes people days, weeks, or even years to be familiar with a person in their real lives. However, it only takes them few hours to draw a conclusion of what a person—character—in the film. This is usually especially after one has watched a series of incidents about her or him.  The incidences in the film are mostly sophisticatedly made to fit into a certain range of time segments with varied kinds of establishment by the director, including the uses of mise-en-scene, sounds, editing, and particular narrative structures, etc. In the case of the film, the Girl with Dragon Tattoo, the director has successfully developed vivid images that bring out the uniqueness of the main female character, Lisbeth Salander. Associating the clip with the entire film, Lisbeth has been painted as an extremely tough, extraordinary, independent female character that represents wisdom and liberty. Moreover, the artful combination of sounds and editing is the central component that comes along with the special mise-en-scene to highlight such personalities. This essay seeks to highlight Lisbeth Salander as an extremely strong/tough, extraordinary, independent female character that represents the boldness, wisdom, and liberty.


The mise-en-scene in the clip emphasizes on bringing the audience another strong visual impact toward the image of the character. The sudden transformation of Salander’s dress up can generate the audience’s new expectation of what would be about to the happen. The long blonde hair, the clear eyebrow, the fresh red lipstick, nail accessories, her decent business style of dressing, and the polite social manners are her new temporary identity which is so much different from her usual self. At this point, audience begins liking this lady, her beautiful look and decent behavior. The word “temporary”, however, does imply its real meaning. The decent woman image likable to the audience is quickly broken when she comes back to the hotel in which she completely returns to her own world—getting rid of the decent clothing, walking around in the room with a cigarette, looking at nowhere else but her computer (The girl with the dragon tattoo). It illustrates the fact that she has a unique attitude toward life, never accepting restriction by anything that she does not like. Even though a change in her style of dress does not impress her, she does so purposefully to take down the big commercial criminal a way of helping her only “friend” in this world.

The non-diegetic sound is used most often in the clip and effectively coordinates to Salander’s actions of her entire preparation to the money laundry. First, the suspenseful instrumental background music is played back and forth throughout the sequence, strengthening the fluency of her action as a “terminator”, a terminator of eliminating the reputation of the commercial crime. In addition, the sound has a strong rhythm that helps set up a bold female image. Another crucial sound, the news report, also crosses through her operation as an indicator of the chronological timeline; it is appeared in the form of both non-diegetic sound and diegetic sound.  It is diegetic when it comes to the scenes that have television inside of the shot, telling the audience the media trend of the incident. It however evolves into non-diegetic, when Salander is shown going about her activities while the news caster’s voice is audible to the audience. This alternates throughout the clip. This sound gives the audience a clue as to what Salander is preparing for by changing her clothes, appearance and even identity. This sound also has another effect of emphasizing Salander’s meticulous planning the operation against her target, who from the news is an influential and powerful man. Salander’s courage to take him illustrates the confidence she has in her abilities.

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The use of sound in this clip is largely diegetic. First, there is the sound of a motorcycle as Salander makes her way to her boss’ office to unaware that the client is waiting for her. Then, the audience hears the talk that goes on in her boss’ office as she makes her way into the building, through the elevator and open format office. There is also the sound of her footstep walking towards the office as the conversation continues (The girl with the dragon tattoo). This use of sound in the clip is used to emphasis Salander’s character, the subject of the discussion in the dialogue from the office. Salander is portrayed in the discussion as an independent woman whose only concern is the ability to deliver on her assignments at work. The sound of the motorbike that is mainly associated with men arouses an anticipation of a male character among the audience concerning the rider. It is only when Salander takes off her helmet that it becomes apparent that it is a woman. The sound that her footsteps produces as she walks through the office  paint the picture of a confident woman who is not dependent on anybody regarding the important decisions in her life. Towards the end of the clip, non-diegetic sound is incorporated into the scene. Mood music is used to bring the tension in the office as Victor the client begins interrogating Salander on the report that she had prepared for him. This kind of music is also used as Salander prepares for her operation on money laundering. It captures much of her preparations and eventual travel to Switzerland to meet bank officials. The mood music creates the mood for the care in this preparation. Care in having the right identification, changing her looks to suit the occasion and even the kind of clothes she wears.

Constant editing has been used in this scene. The whole arrangement is very logical as Salander arrives at the office while the two gentlemen wait for her. It captures her arrival on the motorbike and all the way on foot to the office and where the two gentlemen are situated. Almost everything is captured including the moments she left out. This constant editing enables the audience comprehend the real Salander present in the scenes. It is a way of introducing her as the other two characters discuss her in the office. The audience is also duly inducted into the story by the dislike into her work environment and the discussion audible from the office. Salander is portrayed through the constant editing as a loner in her profession. First, there is the revelation that no one at her place of work likes her; the constant editing reveals this from the stares she gets as she passes through the open format office. As the conversation progresses, the audience discovers that Salander is perceived as entirely different by her boss. Her difference is highlighted through this constant editing when immediately after this; she enters the room and does not bother to respond to the greetings from the client. As the scene continues, it is clear that Salander is only concerned with her professional relationship to this client. Victor’s attempt to probe her further on the personal details concerning the subject of her report bears no fruit.

The kind of editing used on the scene of the film where Salander prepares for the money laundry preparation is montage. Even though it is not continuous, the audience can gain an understanding through a well-crafted condensation of the space and time. This form of editing is useful, since Salander has so much to do for her preparation for this project. It is most probable that showing all this continuously would not have been possible in the film. That is why only the important aspects such as her shopping for clothes, acquisition of new identity and looks are highlighted. Even at the hotel in Zurich, Salander’s journey to the bank is not shown. Instead, we see her arrive in front of the bank building. Her preparedness to go through all this highlights the picture of a determined woman.

The narrative structure of this clip is largely a setup for Lisbeth Salander one of the main characters. Sound and editing is used extensively for the purposes of ensuring that the audience comprehends her fully. First of all, the sound of the powerful motorbike as she arrives at work portrays her strong, independent and liberal character. The diegetic sound effect brought about by the form of the two gentlemen in the office discussing her reveals to the audience of her character and nature. She is like independent and strong, and not bothered by her colleague. The revelation through dialogue that she mostly works from home highlights her liberal view of work in today’s society. This is where women desire to be identified as reliable and trustworthy enough for any assignment with no need for close supervision. Salander is wise enough to leave out the personal details of her subject in the report she made, and no amount of pressure can make her budge. Finally, the non-diegetic music in the form of mood music brings out the atmosphere of distrust between the client and Salander. The client wishes to manipulate her into spewing personal details concerning her report, but Salander stands her ground. This is a demonstration of a strong woman not easily manipulated even by her superiors.

This scene in the clip is largely an introduction of Lisbeth Salander. Sound, editing and mise-en-scene are some of the cinematographic effects utilized for this purpose. The audience is given an in-depth understanding of Salander as among the principal characters in the movie the girl with the dragon tattoo even before she begins to speak. Her strength, liberty and wisdom come to the fore in the scene.

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