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Friday, November 11, 2022

Giving away the plot: Faroe Islands’ fake grave makes strange Bond tribute | No Time To Die

By all accounts, the Faroe Islands are the perfect place to live. The air is clean, the population is sparse and – judging by the local newspaper, which currently has the reopening of a hotel as a top story – it is free of the relentless doom-mongering that batters the rest of us. I would be very happy living on the Faroe Islands. So would you.

Unless, that is, you haven’t seen No Time to Die.

Even though No Time to Die has been out for some time, and realistically everybody who wanted to watch it should have done, the film’s ending is still the subject of collectively agreed secrecy. If you haven’t seen the film, stop reading now.

Not that it matters, because some Faroe Islanders have spoiled the ending in the most elaborate way possible: they have erected a gravestone where James Bond died.

This is no halfhearted effort. The grave was cut from Faroese basalt by an acclaimed stonemason from the village of Skopun and designed to resemble the gravestones of 007’s parents. Engraved on the stone are the words read by M at the close of No Time to Die: “The proper function of a man is to live, not to exist.”

You could argue that the Faroese have the right to situate James Bond’s grave there because, well, that’s where he died. The climactic scene of No Time to Die, in which Bond gets blown to smithereens by missiles was filmed in the tiny village of Trøllanes, population 26. True, the location was substantially altered in post-production, with all the charming homes and lighthouses scrubbed out in favour of a brutalist industrial poison farm, but it’s still where he died.

Inviting a new type of tourist? The Faroe Islands
Inviting a new type of tourist? The Faroe Islands. Photograph: devilmaya/Alamy

Then again, you can’t help but feel that it undoes quite a lot of everyone’s hard work. For months, any and all discussions of No Time to Die have been accompanied by a panicky fear of spoiling the ending. We check and double check whether the person we are talking to has seen it. We shoot furtive glances to make sure we won’t be overheard by a passing stranger. We have all tacitly taken on the responsibility to keep schtum.

Now there’s a tourist attraction dedicated giving it away. It is not impossible that a hiker, who has spent their entire holiday looking forward to watching No Time to Die on the plane home, will take a wrong turn near Trøllanes and trip over a spoiler that has literally been carved in stone.

This didn’t happen to other films. There is no plaque in Philadelphia saying: “This is where the kid from The Sixth Sense first saw a dead person.” There isn’t a statue on a beach in New York stating that the Planet of the Apes was Earth all along. These things are kept secret for a reason.

And is this the level of tourism that the Faroe Islands wants? The Guardian offices are near Kings Cross, where there is a small commemorative Harry Potter attraction. On our way to work, we have to zigzag past loads of adults in scarves taking selfies while they pretend to run through a wall. Now the Faroe Islands are inviting a similar type of tourist. People visit this part of the world for peace, not to witness grown men in tuxedos pretending to be blown up.

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