Evan E. Richards has this amazing site where he posts entire films via screen shots. It is a great way to study a film – shot sequences, compositions, art direction and color. I spent some time looking at Skyfall this morning.
The opening scene introduces Bond’s character with skillful lighting and ensures the viewer that this is a noir film in no uncertain terms.
The first shot shows a mysterious silhouetted figure in a hallway. Daylight is established, though the building is dark.
The figure approaches. Though blurred, we can make out the gun in his hand.
Bond is revealed as he steps into closeup. The warm light indicates an interior space to his right.
He enters the room with gun raised. Danger is imminent.
Now Bond is silhouetted a second time against the strong shafts of daylight. The knocked over lamp is shown as the motivator of the warm light. The daylight from the window is stronger and cooler, yet the the choice to use the inviting glow of the warm light to reveal our character and bring him into the room was more important than staying true to the actual light in the room.
Bond exits the building into the bright sunlight, still in silhouette.
There was a simultaneous intention to paint the interior spaces as dark and cavernous while establishing the middle of day. The darkness speaks to the mystery of the dead man in the chair which kicks off the action and paints Bond as a shadowy, brooding character.
You can see more stills from this and other films at http://evanerichards.com/