Since it’s out of competition debut at the 2010 Cannes Festival, Quinten Dupieux’s RUBBER has been piquing interests across the horror community.
Labeled as “The Killer Tire” movie, Dupieux attempts to outsmart his audience with the tale of Robert, a tire left in the California desert that suddenly finds itself afflicted with a bad case of Life. Confused about its new environment, Robert sets out to discover the world around, using its powers of psychokinesis to blow anything up that crosses its path. It starts small with tin cans and glass bottles, moving upwards to bunnies, scorpions and then human prey.
The movie starts out with a piece by a cop, stepping out of his car and delivering a monologue on the use of “No Reason” in Hollywood, evoking such choices as “why is ET brown?” He then orders his partner to hand out binoculars to a crowd that will be watching the events with us, breaking for the first time out of man, the fourth wall. This crowd turns into the often used Greek Chorus, commenting periodically on the events of the film.
The term “Killer Tire Movie” brings to mind the schlocky B-Movie turned Art House fare that we get from Robert Rodriguez or a younger Sam Raimi. However, this film eschews the madcap action of the prior movies and delivers something that tries to go somewhere else, but seems to forget its destination.
When we meet Robert as he wakes up, it’s fascinating to watch the tire explore its surroundings as something that has never before seen some common place items as a tin can or scorpion and its explosive reactions to these things, the quickly devolves into some kind of weird obsession piece as the tire begins to stalk a woman staying at the nearby drive-by motel. The movie sticks to its No Reason beliefs by stringing together a series of scenes that occur for no good reason.
As the film progresses, the kills become increasingly awkward, all head explosions. We even get a mass poisoning for, again, no reason as the cop from the beginning tricks the now seemingly held hostage binocular group into eating a bad turkey that happened to be in the desert, again, for no reason.
Rubber is as confusing as it is weirdly entertaining and will surely go down as one of those movies that are spread by weird word of mouth. This film become legend not for its content but its subject matter like Snakes on a Plane or the more recent Human Centipede.
It’s hard to recommend this movie to the common viewer, who will most likely find themselves confused as to what is going on, but for the more hardcore they may find a weird little art house piece that entertains on simply its “what the fuck” factor. This is a movie that would be best suited to midnight matinee viewings with a raucous audience shouting at the screen a’
la Rocky Horror Picture Show.
After all is said and done, Rubber is a niche piece that will carve its name in the weird, experimental films that will garner much attention simply because of what the movie is about, but you know what, that in itself is just as fun, knowing that you are one of the few that will likely see this movie, and turn itself into an interesting conversation piece between movie fans.
Final Score: 6/10