Having picked up the DVD of Shutter Island the other day I was struck by a unique idea. I remembered seeing the black and white version of Frank Darabont’s The Mist and being astonished at how such a seemingly small change completely changed the style and tone of the film and made it a better experience overall. So since Shutter Island follows the same 1950’s B- movie tag , I decided to give it a shot and dialled the colour on my TV all the way down to see how it looked. Immaculate is the answer. It gave the film a absolutely stunning look, particularly Teddy’s nightmares and the Ward C scenes. It stopped feeling like a movie copying an aesthetic and became the genuine article. I am the only one who thinks Martin Scorsese missed a trick by releasing this in colour? Any other modern day films that would look better in black and white? Or am I just being astoundingly geeky?
DiCaprio might look more convincing in b&w.
It couldn’t make the film any worse.
There’s a similar thread about Blade Runner as hypothetical b&w from a while back. Interesting idea, though I can’t imagine the studio supporting it as b&w and it probably would have meant losing a significant portion of the youth/young adult audience with which it seemed to do so well as released.
Well, it would visualize the contrasting opinions of the film.
Thankfully I’m not the only one who thought about it.
Just for the sake of counterargument, I don’t think these sequences would work in b&w:
I also reject the Blade Runner suggestion very very strongly. The sheer detail of the cityscape, vividness, signage, atmosphere and so much more. The list goes on. It’s hugely effective as noir as it is. Like Chinatown the mood and such of the genre it’s working in emenates from elsewhere, not just from the old ways of doing things in the frame.
Just from a scan of the other thread looks like it was shot down pretty quick smart by others too. Roscoe did it in true subtle fashion as always :P
Seriously though, for better or worse, films are to be viewed in my view in the best way possible how the director intended. It was a conscious choice to film in colour, in black and white, or an individual scene in B&W.