The main thing I remember about Welcome to the Punch (2013) besides the incoherent message about guns is that it was blue. Extremely pointlessly blue all the time. This is a symptom of movies which try to be arty. They think it’s clever to give the film a one or two color palate.
Color in film has been around a long, long time. Some early films were actually hand colored but various color processes like Technicolor date back to the very early 1900s. Early technicolor films like The Wizard of Oz (1939) and The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) appreciated that they had something more to work with. The older films had a tendency to use vibrant and contrasting colors. The black and white of Kansas against the violent colors of Oz. The green of Robin Hood with the red of Sir Guy.
But then what happened? What did Hollywood do with color? Well, not much and that’s the problem. In most movies, color is just there. There’s absolutely nothing special about. It’s not used artistically at all. And when it is, we get stupid uses like Welcome to the Punch and its pointless blue filter.
Like the Hayes’ Code’s restrictions on content forcing filmmakers to be more creative, black and white’s limitations forced a very creative use of light and shadow. Not every B&W film is a masterpiece but even B films frequently had beautiful chiaroscuro lighting used to great effect. You’ll notice also the early color films held over some conventions especially in the use of shadows, something that almost never appears in film today. The lessons learned with B&W were forgotten and laziness sets in.
Color was a mistake. Black and white is beautiful.