The Colours of Skyfall

Sam Mendes is interested in colour and light; the red door of American Beauty, the flaming oil wells of Jarhead.

American Beauty - Red DoorImage

Skyfall is no different. The film opens with an out of focus Bond and an important early shot, viewed through a mirror, shows him disappearing into shadows (a recurring motif).

Skyfall - Bond in the shadows

The interplay of colour and darkness is apparent throughout the Shanghai scenes. We see Bond in a glowing blue pool amongst Shanghai’s rooftops, and this colour dominates the next scene.

Skyfall - PoolSkyfall - Fight

Blue represents technology (and its dangers).

Skyfall - Blue and GoldSkyfall - Q and Technology

The gold seen in the last image carries to the next Shanghai scene, set in – appropriately – a casino.

Skyfall - Golden CandlesSkyfall - Shanghai Bridge

Silva’s abandoned ruins are stripped, bone-white, bare.

Skyfall - Silva's Ruins

When we return to England, the colours are muted: whites, earthy browns and gun-metal grays.

Skyfall - England

The first shots of Scotland are pastoral; chestnut browns and gently encroaching white fog.

…but as violence envelops the countryside, the palette shifts to the gun-metal gray of England, then the darkness of night.

Orange is introduced as salvation, the flash of a torch revealing escape. But it is revealed to be a threat, and orange becomes the dominant colour.

Skyfall - GunfireSkyfall - Black and Orange

Upon returning to England the buildings are white, representing cleansing or – perhaps – Silva’s ruins.

4 thoughts on “The Colours of Skyfall

  1. Pingback: Skyfall (2012) « Carbon Copy

    • Thanks! I didn’t think story-wise and action-wise it quite matched up to Casino Royale, but the cinematography was truly exceptional.

  2. Pingback: John Wick (2014) | ccpopculture

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