Quentin Tarantino keeps no secrets when it comes to his favourite movies and filmmakers of all time, pointing to the likes of Sergio Leone, Akira Kurosawa, John Ford and Federico Fellini as some of his most inspirational figures. Working in a video store in his youth gave the iconic director a great appreciation for the whole scope of moviemaking, taking in the artistic points of view of multiple different filmmakers from across the world.
A great advocate for the cinematic experience above the contemporary pleasures of viewing a film on one’s phone or laptop, Tarantino joins the likes of Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and Paul Thomas Anderson who each share their love of tactile 70mm film and the thrill of the big screen. In an effort to encourage audience members to consider the poignancy of the cinema, Tarantino has frequently taken to talk shows to discuss this topic.
Appearing on The Late Show with Steven Colbert in early November 2021 to promote his brand new film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood starring Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie and Leonardo DiCaprio, Tarantino became sidetracked in a discussion regarding the visceral thrill of the cinema. “When a movie comes out that you’re interested in enough to see and it makes you leave your house and buy a ticket…you have an experience,” the director explains, before adding: “You have an experience with a bunch of strangers and at that moment, when the movie gets going and the lights are down, you become a collective”.
Quentin Tarantino describes a very similar experience when it comes to the Christopher Nolan WWII epic Dunkirk, picking the film out as his second favourite picture of the 2010s, narrowly missing out from the top spot thanks to David Fincher’s contemporary classic, The Social Network. Watching the film at a packed out screen on the London West End, Tarantino outlined a similar sense of comradery that came about when watching the film with a crowd in a conversation with Sean Fennessey.
“I really like the movie but the spectacle almost numbed me to the experience,” Tarantino explained, “I don’t know if I felt anything emotionally because of the spectacle I was just kind of awed by it. But I don’t even know what I was awed by to tell you the truth”. Such didn’t come as a surprise for the director, however, with the knowledge that Christopher Nolan was well known for his wild, frenetic action films that also include Inception, The Dark Knight and more.
Going on to describe his experience watching the film in the English capital, the director clarified, “There was something about seeing Dunkirk in London that really tipped the scales for me”. Highlighting the sheer “spectacle” of the film several times throughout his glowing review of the film, Tarantino gushes about the sheer might of Nolan’s cinematic vision, reporting that he often found it hard to look past the size of the picture itself.
“Even the second time, I was still taking in the spectacle, I still couldn’t get past the spectacle, but I appreciated the spectacle more, I saw how the spectacle worked a little better, I saw how the engines worked and I appreciated that,” Tarantino concluded, making his love of the film plain and obvious to see.