While scrolling through my Facebook feed this week I saw a friend of mine post the poster for a film called Rubber about a killer tyre. Yes, you read that right, a killer tyre.
I was immediately intrigued and, having quite a varied taste in films and a soft spot for the very strange ones, I just had to check it out. Rubber (2010) is an English-language French independent dark horror comedy by musician/director Quentin Dupieux, whose filmography includes titles such as Nonfilm, Steak, Wrong and Wrong Cops.
Now it is difficult to capture this very unique movie in words but I will do my best. Here is my spoiler free, but NOT GORE FREE, review of Rubber in 3 easy to chew and digest slices:
#1 How Robert rolls
As advertised the protagonist/antagonist is a tyre. According to Wikipedia his name is “Robert”, though he is never called that in the film, and while sentient he never speaks. I am grateful for this as a talking tyre would have made an already ridiculous concept ludicrous. But for such an odd set up and something that could have been so easily cheesy Robert is actually quite interesting.
We first meet him coming to life in a dump in the California desert; we are never told why or how which is a running theme in a movie. It is oddly mesmerising seeing him roll around and interact with his environment, and the effects are well done. With the slightest of movements he is surprisingly emotive and I found it hilarious seeing him do random things like watch television and take a bath.
Robert quickly discovers he has psychokinetic powers and goes around making wild animals explode with his “mind” I guess. Best not to think about it too much. When he begins to stalk a young woman he sees driving on the road he graduates to killing people, making their heads explode Scanners-style. For a tyre Robert is a (forgive the pun) well rounded character and surprisingly menacing.
#2 Oh so Meta
Let me see how I can explain this in a way that makes sense. Within the film there is a group of people watching the film. Not watching a tape of the film like in Spaceballs but watching the events of the film as they unfold in real time via binoculars. This group of “spectators” act a bit like a Greek chorus as they comment on scenes and the pacing of the movie. They are also involved in their own subplot. But where did the spectators come from? What exactly are they watching? It is all left ambiguous.
We also have one character who is aware that he is in a movie or that things are not real, though we the audience are not sure what is real and what is not. It is some really meta storytelling that is strange but also strangely enjoyable.
#3 No rhyme nor reason
The plot of the film follows some usual B horror movie tropes but overall it makes little to no sense. And this may be Dupieux commenting that horror movies and some movies in general have no reason.
But it is a beautifully shot, funny, weird gore fest and one of the most unique film experiences I have ever had and destined to become a cult classic. If you like films that break the rules and roll off the beaten path then Rubber should meet your viewing road.
Rating: Rubber gets 3/4 sentient serial killer tyres.
So if you had to come up with a tag line for Rubber what would it be? Please share in the comments. I would love to read them.
For another cult classic film you can check out “worst movie ever” Plan 9 From Outer Space here. And for more crazy movie reviews you can like the MovieVille Facebook page here and follow me on Twitter @suprememango012 for updates and other cool stuff.
I’m feeling tyred after this post so l8rs.