Finally got to see Dunkirk earlier this evening, in IMAX of course, and the film is a cinematic masterpiece. Just the visuals alone is worth the price of admission. Director of Photography Hoyte van Hoytema is an absolute master in framing and light manipulation (handheld IMAX camera shots!). Add that to on-location filming in actual Dunkirk with Hans Zimmer’s heart-thumping score, it was as if I was watching a war documentary in VR, which is to say, utterly immersive.
And (spoiler) to end the film with a narration of Winston Churchill's famous speech! Ah, so brilliant. As a sort of history-buff, it brought a smile to my face.
Christopher Nolan does well indeed to interweave a story, hitting specific marks and rhythms to draw the emotion out of the audience. A more linear storyline would not have had the same amounts of gravity and impact. Nolan isn’t performing a show of history lesson per-se, but rather he is placing you in the drama, shaking and shattering your senses. Dunkirk in its entirety is as if the total chaos of Saving Private Ryan’s opening Normandy sequence was the whole of the film.
You are utterly short-changing yourself if you don't see Dunkirk in proper 70MM IMAX film projection. It's the only medium acceptable for such a spectacle, to see the ideal that Nolan had in mind. People speak of heading to the theatre for the cinematic experience; watching films shot with an IMAX camera in a proper IMAX theatre is that epitome.