Color has always been one of the most subtly emotional characteristics of film. Filmmakers use it to set the tone of a story and to convey non-verbal expression. But sometimes, a lack of color can add depth to an already brilliant film. Recently, #MadMaxFuryRoad was given the “Black and Chrome” treatment, letting us see the action told through color and through the absence of it.
James Mangold’s #Logan is looking to be getting the black and white treatment as well. Judging from the tone and the emotional stakes of Hugh Jackman's final #XMen film, Logan looks to be the perfect fit for the treatment.
Will this become a popular trend with movies now? If so, what past films could receive the black and white treatment to further the depth of their storytelling? Here are some movies that deserve a grayscale version:
10. Casino Royale
#CasinoRoyale is widely considered the best Daniel Craig Bond film, and the opening sequence gave us a taste of how gritty Bond could get. The brief black and white scene added to the grittiness, making Bond even more savage in his bloody work.
The film could benefit from this treatment, giving Bond a whole new level of maturity. The best part of the film was the poker tournament, and seeing that in black and white could make it more atmospheric — perhaps even Casablanca-esque
9. In Bruges
One of the best films centered around hitmen, #InBruges is a slow but emotionally heavy movie that focuses on life and death. It follows two hitmen who, after a hit gone wrong, settle in Bruges awaiting orders. The film uses plenty of light and dark shots with silhouettes.
Belgium is a beautiful country, and having no color in the film could add more in terms of solitude. Colin Farrell’s Ray doesn’t like being in Bruges, and the black and white could resonate with his sense of uncertainty.
8. The Prestige
Christopher Nolan’s #ThePrestige centers on two rival magicians fighting for the spotlight in 19th century London. The black and white conversion would benefit the film in terms of a shadowy, vintage feel. The constant use of lamps would add some powerful contrast, making Hugh Jackman’s Robert Angier and Christian Bale's Alfred Borden more disturbing as they descend into obsession.
7. Inglourious Basterds
A Quentin Tarantino film had to be on this list! His alternate World War II epic calls for a black and white conversion. Its setting, use of practical effects, and the ending itself would look perfect without color. The opening scene with Christoph Waltz would be more terrifying, and the ominous feel and the smoke filling the air would add wonders to the frame.
6. The American
Not a lot of people saw #TheAmerican with George Clooney as a hitman doing one last job in Italy. The film is very quiet and slow, but watching Clooney’s Jack spend an entire scene in a dimly lit room making a suppressor is astonishing. The car chase was surprisingly quiet and atmospheric.
A black and white treatment would make for some interesting visuals. The dread would feel a lot like when Michael Myers appeared behind Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween.
5. Moonrise Kingdom
Wes Anderson is the master of using color schemes in his storytelling, so adding him on this list would be a test to see if the film works without his signature color palettes. #MoonriseKingdom seems like the best Wes Anderson film to be converted into black and white; the movie would still have its signature camera quirks to contribute to the colorless frames, but a black and white conversion could change Anderson’s tone altogether in a good and different way.
4. Batman (1989)
The Tim Burton classic is gothic, dark and full of mystery. #Batman would look awesome in black and white, especially how intense Michael Keaton is behind that cowl – it’s scary. The ingredients are all there: Tim Burton's signature style, Danny Elfman's wonderful score, and the Batman and Joker giving it their all. Make it happen, Warner Bros.!
3. I Saw The Devil
Byun-Hun Lee’s best film to date, #ISawTheDevil is about a man pursuing a serial killer who killed his pregnant wife ... and the serial killer realizes that the man is far crazier than he is. It’s a cat and mouse game, and the film is violent as hell.
The cinematography is chaotic, yet calm — and when it’s calm, it’s unsettling. A black and white version of I Saw The Devil could put it alongside Alfred Hitchcock’s #Psycho.
Zhang Yimou’s #Hero has lots of color, and having the film without it would make for a completely different mood, but the best part of the film was the black and white scene with Jet Li and Donnie Yen. This was a tough one to put on the list, but it deserves to be on it — just like Moonrise Kingdom. The absence of color could add to its bleak but happy ending. Seeing the film in full black and white would be quite the experiment.
1. John Wick and John Wick Chapter 2
Chad Stahelski and David Leitch know and love #JohnWick. They make him such a badass and a fearful figure to bad guys. Those ominous shots of Wick walking out of the dark and shooting people in the face would make such a great black and white feature. Tyler Bates' score would make the lack of color more enticing.
What film do you believe merits a black and white version? Tell us in the comments below!