With time ticking before the Academy Awards officially wraps up the last year in film, it's time to check those last nominated features off of your list. While it's awesome that some of the Best Picture contenders came from earlier in the year, and weren't obviously Oscar bait, they left theaters long ago and won't be easy to catch before Sunday. Luckily, you can stream Dunkirk (producer: Emma Thomas) — and while that may not be director Christopher Nolan's intent for the perfect viewing experience, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
As Nolan made clear earlier this year, he loves IMAX. Dunkirk was filmed using 70 percent IMAX cameras, and marks the biggest 70mm film (as opposed to digital) release in 25 years. Nolan is, in fact, in a 70mm support group with fellow picky male auteurs Quentin Tarantino and Paul Thomas Anderson, according to IndieWire.
For Dunkirk, that combination of new and old technology made for something truly special. “The immersive quality of the image is second to none,” Nolan said in an IMAX behind the scenes video. “We really try and create the sensation of virtual reality without the goggles.” He wanted audience members to be put directly in the film and really feel what it must have been like to be on those boats, in those planes, on those beaches, and doing whatever Kenneth Branagh was doing.
The official Dunkirk website even had a search tool that found the optimal theater nearest you and everything. So, just be aware that if you stream this film on your laptop, you are causing a living man to roll over in his grave. As long as you're cool with that, then keep calm, and carry on.
Dunkirk is available to rent and buy on iTunes, Youtube, and Google Play. It's not included on any subscription streaming service at the moment, but very easy to watch from home on television or your preferred device.
One place it isn't streaming, and likely won't be any time soon, is Netflix. Last summer, in an interview with IndieWire, Nolan expressed disapproval of the streaming service and (in particular) their original content.
“Netflix has a bizarre aversion to supporting theatrical films,” Nolan said at the time. “They have this mindless policy of everything having to be simultaneously streamed and released, which is obviously an untenable model for theatrical presentation. So they’re not even getting in the game, and I think they’re missing a huge opportunity.”
He, on the other hand, praised Amazon's model of releasing films in theaters for about three months before putting them up for streaming. What do you know, Dunkirk is also available to rent or buy on Amazon.
In a later interview with Variety, Nolan apologized for his "impolite" remarks andnoted that many aspects of Netflix are, in fact, revolutionary and demanding of respect. Full disclaimer, there are some Nolan films on Netflix at this point, including The Prestige, Memento, and Batman Begins.
However, “my entire adult life [studios] have released straight-to-video films,” he said to Variety. “As a filmmaker, when I was starting out in the ’90s, your nightmare was the straight-to-video release. There’s nothing new about it — what’s different and new about it is selling it to Wall Street as innovation or disruption.” So, still, Netflix and Nolan seem to have many different goals in what they're doing.
In the same interview, Nolan talked about his love of the communal aspect of movie theaters. So, when and if you do stream Dunkirk, maybe invite some friends over. Live tweet it. Do what you can to make it an experience worthy of all the epic effort put into making this film. It's the least we can do for this Oscar nominee.