Why does Tarantino Think 'Dunkirk' is a Masterpiece?

Quentin Tarantino is one of the greatest directors of all time. So when he labels something as a masterpiece, we listen. 

In 2020 Tarantino has become more accessible to his audience. He's programming movies at the New Beverly, doing an in-depth podcast with The Ringer and Lynn Hirschberg, and talking a whole lot more about modern cinema

During a stint on 'The Rewatchables', Tarantino came out in strong favor of movies like Unstoppable but reserved the term "masterpiece" only for Dunkirk.

So what makes Tarantino so excited and eager to talk about a recent release?

Check out this video from The Ringer and let's talk after the jump. 

Why does Tarantino Think 'Dunkirk' is a Masterpiece?  

The best movies are not just good the first time through but upon multiple viewings give us a chance to unpack the excellence at their center. 

Hearing how Tarantino watched this movie three times before he ranked it among the best of the decade was a great example of this in-detail study that makes the difference between a great filmmaker and student of the craft and a casual viewer. 

Dunkirk is made for this type of study.

Not just because of the bold, non-linear editing, but because of how it envelops you in its story from the first frame. 

There are scenes so tense and jaw-dropping that the magnitude might escape you on viewing one. 

Tarantino also lauds Nolan's 'virtuosity,' his incredible filmmaking skill, which Tarantino compares to Stanley Kubrick. 

One knock on Nolan has always been his reliance on the genre and intellectual property to create weight to his films. That argument gets.... blown out of the water... with Dunkirk. Pun intended. 

It is a war movie, but it's also a personal story. One that is emotional and wrought with the willing sacrifice humans make for one another. 

It is about a bond of brotherhood and the desire to risk one's life for a greater cause. 

Nolan uses practical effects and iMax cameras to be immersive, almost shrinking back as a director, more concerned with giving audiences the experience and less concerned with his personal stamp. 

That's when you know you're in the hands of a master filmmaker. 

The conjoining of spectacle and substance makes this movie exciting to revisit and rewatch again and again. 

Do you agree with Tarantino? 

Let us know in the comments. 

What's next? Check out Tarantino's other reviews

Quentin Tarantino joins this month's Pure Cinema Podcast to discuss film criticism and culture in an incredible, nearly 3-hour episode.     

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Your Comment


NO... I love T... but I really thought Dunkirk disappointed as a film ... if you put if up against something like Saving Private Ryan , it would even get to sit at the adult table. IMHO

April 13, 2020 at 4:37PM, Edited April 13, 4:47PM


Nolan is a clever good filmmaker, but great movies are great because they engage you in an immersive intense experience at the first viewing"as some of his other movies dose", confusing craftsmanship"in any department" with greatness is a common mistake, you don't have to investigate or decode great art"its in your face almost touching you", Dunkirk at it best is a great try for the oscars or to be knighted"revive the Nazi's matter and glorify the British empire as 1917 dose", Tarantino on the other hand is the lord of nonsense, his movies are no more than interpersonal theatrical narrative structured in a cool manner and shot on "film", cinema is much more vast than this, one of the main reasons of its diminish and reduction to "a cool art" is false icons like Tarantino ... Excuse my lengthy troll

April 14, 2020 at 12:57AM


'Nolan uses practical effects and iMax cameras to be immersive, almost shrinking back as a director' what on earth does that mean??? Blowing shit up and using big cameras to willy waggle is a shrinking exercise?

April 14, 2020 at 2:27AM


Well I'm not sure how long does Mr. Tarantino think a Spitfire han hold in the sky without engine but fighters were not exactly designed for gliding.

April 17, 2020 at 4:36AM

Carlos Niño
Director of Photography

As a viewer who watched all the war movies of the late fifties ,sixties and seventies this movie to me was way overdone .Continuity in weaving in scenes did not work .This I know is a difficult thing to do successfully . If you are going to do scene jumping you must have the skill to do that .
Also key characters were very stereotyped and actually boring .
There were never enough soldiers showing on the beach to give the impression of a mass evacuation .
The Luftwaffe appeared far too worrisome as to what really occurred .
All the ultra HD pictures and action did help ,but ultimately a boring movie .

April 17, 2020 at 3:26PM

Pete Roberts

Quentin Tarantino is one of the greatest directors of all time. So when he labels something as a masterpiece, we listen.

April 19, 2020 at 3:54AM

Điện Lạnh Elecmax
Điện Lạnh Elecmax | Trung tâm điện lạnh uy tín số 1 Hà Nội

Nolan is one of the greatest filmmaker that will give you one of the best movies and if you want to create like nolan and music i found the software that is free and gives you the best shot here

July 5, 2020 at 4:18AM