One of the best scenes in Skyfall is when we first meet Javier Bardem as the sinister Silva at his island lair. Silva’s first speech to Bond is excellent, one of the best Bond villain introductions ever, and just as impactful is the creepiness and dilapidation of the island that he chose to situation his lair in.
In the film, Silva gets the island to himself by spreading rumors of a chemical leak, causing the people hastily scatter with the entire population evacuating within hours. Well it turns out the true story of the island isn’t drastically different in terms of the abandonment.
Yahoo! Movies found the island and did a bit of digging on why it looks the way it does.
The picture below is of the actual Hashima Island, 9 miles off the coast of Nagasaki.
The island was inhabited starting in 1887, and soon after it was found to be rich with coal. Mitsubishi bought the island and it soon became a self-functioning metropolis with enough workers being housed that by the 1950s it was one of the most densely populated areas on the planet, with 5200 people living on a mere 15 acres of space.
By the 1970s however, petroleum had taken over as Japan’s dominant fuel, and in 1974 Mitsubishi closed the mines. The people abandoned the island within days, leading to the dirty abandoned look the island now has.
Cinematographer Roger Deakins did some shooting on the actual island, including the approach on the boat, but the rest of it was rebuilt at Pinewood Studios. Deakins did an excellent job at making the extremely depressing island visually appealing while still maintaining the mood such a place has.
So now that you know the island is real, show you’re a hardcore Bond fan and instead of vacationing to London or to one of the many exotic locations 007 travels to, head to Hashima Island and pretend you’re Silva for a few days.