Once the default mode, black and white has now become a bold statement of artistic intention. What that intention is, however, seems to be a little bit different for all of the recent films that have made the most of it. Often, monochrome is used as a pipeline to the past — in “Good Night
, and Good Luck
,” a lack of color not only speaks to how history remembers Edward R. Murrow
, it also conjures the imagery of his television news broadcasts. Michael Haneke
’s “The White Ribbon
” similarly uses the technique to take us back in time, but is less about recreating an era than it is about establishing a chokehold of fatalistic austerity.
“The Man Who Wasn’t There” is another period piece, but the lack of color in the Coen brothers’ film — which was shot in color and then bled dry — assumes a moral quality, making Billy Bob Thornton