Chattanooga, Tenn. (Nov. 1, 2017) – Director Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” has been hailed as a “gripping” and “gut-wrenching” masterpiece. Some critics are even predicting the film will receive multiple Academy Awards.
Nolan’s epic recounts the real-life events of May and June 1940, when 400,000 Allied troops were forced to rely on their wits and pure grit to survive while utterly — and seemingly hopelessly — surrounded in a small coastal French town. The feature film is widely considered 2017’s best release, to date, with an average critical score of 94 on review aggregator Metacritic.com.
Despite its release earlier this year and its near-universally positive critical reception, many moviegoers haven’t been able to see “Dunkirk” in its purest form. About 70 percent of the movie was recorded on 70mm IMAX film. In behind-the-scenes interviews, the famed director says he hopes audiences will view his epic, whenever possible, in a giant screen theater.
“The immersive quality of the [IMAX] image is second to none,” Nolan says. “We really try and create the sensation that I would describe as ‘virtual reality without the goggles.’
“These amazing, massive cameras provide a very, very visceral experience, a tactile experience of being there for these events. We want to give people a really intense ride, really put people there and let them feel what that experience would have been like.”
On Nov. 10, “Dunkirk” will begin a special, three-weekend engagement at the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX Theater. Screenings will take place at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday evenings through Nov. 25. As a special Veterans Day tribute, the movie’s opening screening will be introduced by U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Noah Long (Retired), trustee for the Charles H. Coolidge Medal of Honor Heritage Center.
“Part of the core mission for the Heritage Center is to educate people about the six values that embody the Medal of Honor and how these character traits play a role in our daily lives, whether you’re on the battlefield or in the boardroom,” said Major General Bill Raines, U.S. Army (Retired) and chairman of the board of trustees for the Charles H. Coolidge Medal of Honor Heritage Center.
“I hope individuals will reflect upon the Dunkirk story and see how these character traits — courage, commitment, citizenship, sacrifice, integrity and patriotism — inspired common people to do incredible things,” Raines continues. “More important, we want to encourage people to emulate these traits to make a positive change in their own lives and community.”
Before viewing the film on Chattanooga’s largest screen, audiences on opening night will be able to more fully immerse themselves in “Dunkirk’s” historical narrative by viewing authentic military artifacts from the Charles H. Coolidge Medal of Honor Center. These items will be exhibited in the theater’s lobby all day and include 1940s-era military equipment as well as actual Medals of Honor and a replica of the Victoria Cross, the highest military awards for American and British armed forces, respectively.
The displays should make for a fitting Veterans Day history lesson, one further amplified by experiencing “Dunkirk.”
“I believe people who come to see this film will get an opportunity to see some really interesting and unique artifacts that will help them understand certain aspects of the Dunkirk story,” Raines said. “Every artifact on display has a story behind it — a story that will provide people with a personal connection to this harrowing tale of survival and resistance and a better understanding of the heroic actions that happened in Dunkirk, France, and throughout World War II.”
The Charles H. Coolidge Medal of Honor Heritage Center is also in the midst of a capital campaign to raise funds for building a new Heritage Center in downtown Chattanooga at the Aquarium Plaza (adjacent to the Aquarium). To support this effort, $4 of each ticket purchased during “Dunkirk’s” IMAX stint will be donated to the capital campaign, up to a maximum of $5,000. Viewers on opening night will also be able to donate directly to the Heritage Center’s campaign via on-site representatives.
Tickets to “Dunkirk” at the IMAX Theater will be $15.95 for adults, $11.95 for ages 3-12 or $4 for members of the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX Club. For a full schedule of screenings, visit tnaqua.org/imax/dunkirk. To learn more about the IMAX Club, visit tnaqua.org/imax/imax-club. For more information about the Charles H. Coolidge Medal of Honor Heritage Center, visit mohm.org.