If you’ve been keeping up with news headlines over the last several months, you’ll know that Russian hackers are a hot topic. They steal, leak, commit DDoS attacks, target, exploit, disrupt and have been linked to everything from disrupting the US election to the leaking of Olympic gold medallist Simone Biles’ medical records.
But you don’t become internationally notorious overnight: the villains we see in headlines now have come a long way to get here, and the journey is recorded on film. It has three distinctive steps: the Nerd, the Small-Time Baddie, and the stage we’re entering currently, the International Villain.
The Small-Time Baddie
Russian hackers as possible – they are a threat to your bank account but not your democracy.
The International Villain
bear gifs and using stolen truth — in the form of leaked documents and stolen information — as a weapon. Working in sync with the rhetoric of post-truth politics, where no one is right and facts neither exist nor affect the outcome of elections, those who expose the hidden, hard facts naturally become a figure comparable to superheroes (or super-villains). And it’s only a matter of time before they conquer the silver screen.
Showbusiness and audiences are partial to an anti-hero, underdog, or whistleblower
Showbusiness and audiences are partial to the odd anti-hero, underdog, or whistleblower, as films on Edward Snowden and Julian Assange have demonstrated, and a Russian hacker can be any of these things depending on your political outlook. Besides, they have the Russian villain trope working for them, creating a historical background for the conflict. Now, all we have to do is wait for the films to arrive — and when they do, they’d better use stereotypes in a smart way and not follow the Bourne Identity disaster which still makes the rounds on the Russian internet as a go-to joke about the Hollywood portrayal of Russia.