The color gray is consider to be a dull color. It is neither light nor dark. It is often used to show depression. Many directors use colors to show emotions of the characters in a scene. However, Denis Vileneuve, director of the new movie Arrival, uses colors to hide the twist in the movie.
In the beginning of Arrival, the main character, Doctor Louise Banks, raises a child by herself. Then, after a short montage of the child growing up, the child dies. During the montage, most of the memories where happy and very colorful. However, when the montage shows the hospital, the color of the scenes goes from bright colors to dull grays. Afterwards, Dr. Banks has a short montage of getting up and going to work. The sky that day is very cloudy and looks like it is about to rain. One can infer that the director wanted to make the viewers think that Dr. Banks is feeling gloomy and depressed over her loss of her daughter. However, quite the opposite is true.
The viewers later find out that the visions that Dr. Banks is having are not flashbacks but flash forwards. The daughter Dr. Banks will have is the daughter of a man she has just met. She can see into the future because of the language an alien race has taught her. That is the twist and climax of the movie.
Now, Vileneuve used the color to make the viewers think the tragedy has just happen. If the viewers think that events happen in the past, they will not look in the future. If the viewers think that these past events are some montage of memories, they will not think that Dr. Banks are seeing these events in real time. The question I would like to ask is what ways did Denis Vileneuve use to hide the plot twist in Arrival.