- Reptile director Grant Singer addresses the popular Reptile color theory which suggests that the colors the characters wear foreshadow their intentions in the movie.
- Detective Nichols and other innocent protagonists are seen wearing red, while characters wearing predominantly blue clothing are revealed to be guilty.
- The opening scene involving a dirty pool hints at blue being the color worn by dirty cops, and the color symbolism is consistent throughout the entire film, including all aspects of the production design.
Reptile director Grant Singer addresses the color theory. The crime thriller, which was directed by Singer in his feature-length debut, follows Benicio del Toro as a detective who investigates the murder of a real estate agent and discovers a complicated web of police corruption. The Reptile cast also includes Justin Timberlake, Alicia Silverstone, Eric Bogosian, Ato Essandoh, Domenick Lombardozzi, and Michael Pitt. Since releasing on September 22, the crime thriller has dominated Netflix’s Global Top 10 by appearing on the list for four straight weeks.
In an interview with Collider, Singer addressed the Reptile color theory which was popularized on Reddit. Although the question may be better suited for costume designer Amanda Ford, the director racked his brain and recalled conversations with his costume designer about having the characters wear colors that hint at their intentions in the movie. Read his full response below:
No, but I did see something like that. That’s one of the things where I was like, “Wow, people really read into those things.” Again, that’s a question for my costume designer. She might be like, “Absolutely!” I don’t wanna answer that actually because I wanna let Amanda [Ford] take responsibility over that because if she were doing that, I don’t remember if we had specific conversations. I know we had certain conversations in terms of maybe color things, in terms of color stories with each character.Those conversations are a little distant in my memory, so I don’t want to speak on that. But I think, actually, Amanda, who you should speak to, she might have a better answer to that. But yes, I did read that. Again, those are when I’m like, “Oh man, people really engage with the movie. They’re going color beat by beat.” That’s pretty cool… Oh, by the way, now that you say that, I do remember Amanda and I having conversations about the color for specific characters.
The Reptile Color Theory Explained
Shared to the r/FanTheories subreddit by the eagle-eyed u/Realistic_Handle_379, the theory explains that the colors the characters wear in Reptile foreshadow their intentions. Detective Nichols, Summer, and other innocent protagonists wear the color red. Early on, this symbolism serves as a red herring since many of the characters wearing red, specifically maroon, act suspiciously. However, throughout the movie, the characters wearing predominately blue clothing are revealed to be guilty. In fact, the brighter the blue, the guiltier they are.
This color symbolism is foreshadowed by the opening scene involving the dirty pool, which hints that blue is the color worn by corrupt cops. Nichols, on the other hand, never wears blue. Also during the opening scenes, Will Grady is lit by a bright blue light immediately after he likely murdered Summer. The one exception to this rule is the car the killer drives, which is only red because it was previously owned by Nichols’ wife, Judy, an innocent person. This color symbolism is even consistent throughout the entirety of Reptile, including all aspects of the production design.