Movie Editor's Blog

Movie Editor's Blog

Skyfall island revealed

Those who have seen Sam Mendes' record-smashing Bond film 'Skyfall' will doubtless have gazed wide-eyed at villain Raoul Silva's island HQ.

As sets go, it is breathtaking in its decay, and a genius find from the director.

In the film, the tale is sold that Silva spread rumours of a chemical leak and the population disappeared within hours.

Abandoned island (Copyright: Gakuranman)

The truth is not so far from that.

This is Gunkanjima, meaning 'Battleship Island' the nickname for Hashima Island, thanks to its aerial resemblance to a warship.

Aerial view (Copyright: Gakuranman)

It's found nine miles off the coast of Nagasaki, and was once rich with coal. From 1887 it was inhabited, and once the discovery of coal was made, it was bought by Mitsubishi, and a tiny metropolis formed.

Tower blocks (Copyright: Gakuranman)

Workers were housed on the site and it became a functioning, self-contained city, and later tower blocks would begin to sprout from the concrete.

Don't look down (Copyright: Gakuranman)

By the 50s, it was one of the most densely-populated places on the planet, with 5200 people living in just 15 acres of space.

But when petroleum took over as Japan's fuel of choice, its fate was altered forever. In 1974, Mitsubishi closed the mines, and the population was decimated within days, the city left to decades of decay.

Beautiful decay (Copyright: Gakuranman)

Cinematographer Roger Deakins shot the approach and some external shots there, but much of it was rebuilt at Pinewood.

These shots, taken by urban explorer and blogger Gakuranman, show the ghost city in all its eerie glory, the perfect lair for a modern Bond villain.

Skyfall... Bardem in his lair (Copyright: Rex)