Sam Mendes is interested in colour and light; the red door of American Beauty, the flaming oil wells of Jarhead.
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).
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.
Blue represents technology (and its dangers).
The gold seen in the last image carries to the next Shanghai scene, set in – appropriately – a casino.
Silva’s abandoned ruins are stripped, bone-white, bare.
When we return to England, the colours are muted: whites, earthy browns and gun-metal grays.
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.
Upon returning to England the buildings are white, representing cleansing or – perhaps – Silva’s ruins.
4 thoughts on “The Colours of Skyfall”
Pingback: Skyfall (2012) « Carbon Copy
Great post, I loved the use of colour in Skyfall.
Thanks! I didn’t think story-wise and action-wise it quite matched up to Casino Royale, but the cinematography was truly exceptional.
Pingback: John Wick (2014) | ccpopculture