Why Alex Garland’s dramatic new thriller Civil War is meant to be experienced in IMAX

Alex Garland's compelling new thriller Civil War puts you at the heart of an American nightmare. The film depicts a plausible, near-future iteration of the USA that has been torn apart from within and follows a group of intrepid war photographers on a do-or-die mission to snap the elusive US President.

Kirsten Dunst leads the excellent cast, which also includes Cailee Spaeny, Wagner Moura and Nick Offerman. Garland once again teases the old grey matter, as he did in the acclaimed likes of Ex-Machina, by forcing us to reconcile with a shattering disaster that's entirely of humanity's making.

Civil War is playing at Cineworld in IMAX this April and here's why you need to experience the movie in the format.


IMAX's enlarged screens lend a greater sense of devastation to war-torn America

Civil War plunges us into an eerily plausible near-future environment where California and Texas have seceded from the American Union to become the Western Separatist Forces. This has led to all-out conflict between the secessionists, which also includes the Florida Alliance and the New People's Army, and the government in Washington D.C. that has bunkered down, Escape From New York-style, behind Army-protected barricades and obliterated freeways.

This is a large-canvas thriller and Garland's most expansive, not to mention expensive, project so far (the budget is $50 million, far higher than any of his previous films, and the biggest budget for an A24 movie to date). Civil War is therefore tailor-made for IMAX presentation.

When you witness a movie in IMAX, you'll be awed at how larger-than-usual screens, stretching from floor to ceiling and wall to wall, seamlessly combine with a unique remastering process. Screens are also curved so one never misses out on the action.

To watch Civil War in IMAX is to be an active participant in the action, rather than a mere passive spectator.


Enhanced picture clarity brings the film's horrors into sharper focus

The IMAX remastering process helps ensure every frame glistens with added levels of contrast and sharpness. This lends greater veracity and depth to every scene. Projection therefore feels crystal clear and unlike anything seen in a standard widescreen presentation. IMAX fully transforms every frame of a film to produce the best possible version of a filmmaker’s vision.

This melds perfectly with a film like Civil War. Garland's movie stares unblinkingly into a hellish, near-future landscape and IMAX's intrinsic picture qualities render the film's appalling sights in even greater levels of vivid detail, even when we'd rather that they didn't. 

These suspenseful set-pieces range from massive pitched battles, among the most ambitious scenes staged in Garland's career, to a genuinely frightening stand-off with a disturbed soldier played by Kirsten Dunst's real-life husband Jesse Plemons. The qualities of IMAX ensure that you'll never look away.


Fully integrated sound puts you at the heart of a fast-changing warzone

IMAX auditoriums are equipped with a perfectly tuned integrated sound and speaker system for heart-pounding audio that will truly blow you away. Speakers are placed in specific areas around the auditorium to deliver unparalleled preciseness that enhances the level of immersion.

The frequency response of IMAX audio also enhances both higher notes and bass levels, meaning you can practically feel the impact of the sound from your seat.

This is exactly what you need for a film like Civil War whose actively aggressive and immersive sound design is meant to jolt you in your seat with every bullet and explosion. Sitting alongside the sound effects is the score from Garland's regular collaborators Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury, which whines and keens its way through the film to keep us on edge.

Find out more about how IMAX works in Cineworld's behind-the-scenes video clip.



When is Civil War previewing in IMAX at Cineworld?

Civil War previews in IMAX at Cineworld on April 9th, before its wide release on April 12th.



When does the Cineworld IMAX Film Fest take place?

The Cineworld IMAX Film Fest takes place on April 20th. Click the link below to find out more.