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 surrounded in a small coastal French town.
Despite its release earlier this year and its 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.'
"Dunkirk" will begin a special, three-weekend engagement at the Tennessee Aquarium Imax Theater on Friday, Nov. 10. 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 retired U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Noah Long, 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 retired Maj. Gen. Bill Raines, chairman of the board of trustees for the 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, the audience on opening night will be able to 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 and include 1940s-era military equipment, actual Medals of Honor and a replica of the Victoria Cross.
"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."
A capital campaign to raise funds to build the new Heritage Center at the Aquarium Plaza is currently underway. To support this effort, $4 of each ticket purchased during "Dunkirk's" Imax run will be donated to the capital campaign, up to a maximum of $5,000. Viewers opening night will also be able to donate directly to the Heritage Center's campaign via on-site representatives.
Tickets to "Dunkirk" are $15.95 adults, $11.95 ages 3-12, $4 for members of the Tennessee Aquarium Imax Club.
For a full schedule of screenings, visit tnaqua.org/imax/dunkirk.