I waited for the opportunity to see Dunkirk in IMAX to give you a true opinion on the subject. It must be said that, although the scores and reviews are generally good, the film has been heavily criticized, sometimes excessively. Then let’s restore the truth.
If we start with the most primary point of all: yes I was glued on my seat for an hour and forty minutes, which is good news for the film. Then, as you would expect, the image is well worked and the music appropriate.
But it is not so much on the technique than on the content that one might linger. On this point Christopher Nolan was strongly criticized, notably by the French for not having spoken of the French, and by the English/American for the lack of a strong central character.
There are two answers to this, the first being that: yes, I admit that the French are left aside. Even though mentioned three times as “those who hold the lines”, it is true that at no time their sacrifice was mentioned. Nevertheless, the only release of the film will have led people to talk about these soldiers, and indirectly contributes to the “duty of memory”. But of course, for that, no credit goes to Nolan.
On the other hand, as for the second point, the absence of a strong character is a blatant choice here: Nolan did not want Dunkirk to speak of a single heroic character, but rather of the historical fact; of three characters who try to survive, without any particular set of skills. He says it himself: “it’s not a war movie, it’s a survival movie”. And on this subject, Dunkirk is very modest: no body shredded, no bloodshed, no excess of bravery: the film is very measured, very far from a Hollywood show, and it is, to me, a great strength of the movie. In fact, staying away from the war as a show, Nolan manages us to hold on to our seats for the duration of the film, to make us feel the imminence of danger.
In this regard, it is worth mentioning that the IMAX contributes greatly to immersion, thanks to the disproportionate size of the screen and especially the Atmos sound. This film is not so much to tell a story as to touch an experience, grasp the feeling of a moment on this beach, and there IMAX becomes interesting.
In short, even if one can criticize it, Dunkirk is an excellent film: more than a story, a cinematographic experience, of great decency and modesty which does not hold the film back, and on the contrary makes the great suspense even more honorable.