Opinion: Commuting to Dunkirk

In a little over two weeks time, Christopher Nolan’s latest film Dunkirk will be hitting cinemas. One of the most exciting prospects of a new Christopher Nolan film is how he is one of the last remaining filmmakers to support traditional film formats. Indeed, Nolan shot Dunkirk on 70mm and IMAX film, with 75% of the footage formatted for IMAX screens.

Obviously, this means that the best way to see Dunkirk would be the way it was shot. However, it seems that this might actually turn out to be a difficult task. The list of theatres showing the film in 70mm or 70mm IMAX has been released and here in Ontario, there will only be two IMAX screens and one standard screen showing the film in 70mm.

From what I recall, this is a slight drop from the theatres that played Nolan’s previous film Interstellar in 70mm. Indeed, the most surprising omission for me was Toronto’s Scotiabank Theatre, which has been known for years as one of the main traditional IMAX screens. Part of the reason for this I’m guess is the Scotiabank’s switch towards the digital IMAX Laser, which gives a similar presentation to 70mm, though it still has some notable differences in aspect ratio and clarity.

Since it has always been my intention to see Dunkirk in 70mm IMAX, my plan is now to commute to the closest IMAX screen showing the film in the format, which for me will be the Cineplex Coliseum IMAX in Mississauga (just west of Toronto). While this will undoubtedly require some more careful planning for me in regards to the commute, I do believe that it would be worth it to see Dunkirk the way that Christopher Nolan intended it.

Still, I lament the lack of a 70mm IMAX presentations within the Toronto city limits, with the closest being a traditional 70mm presentation at the Cineplex Varsity, which is shown in a different aspect ratio than IMAX. With there being no less than SIX formats to see Dunkirk in, audiences should really be advised to check their cinema listings closely, to ensure that they are seeing the best possible presentation.

Dunkirk opens on July 21.

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Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).