Rubber Movie Review

Directed by Quentin Dupieux
Starring Stephen Spinella, Jack Plotnick, and Wings Hauser 

MPAA: R: For some violent images and language]

Usually, I start out my reviews with an introduction that is partially related to the movie being discussed, or with a witty opening line; but literally all you need to know about Rubber is this: It’s a movie about a killer tire that uses its psychic powers to make people’s heads explode. Yes, this movie actually exists. No, I’m not making this all up. Yes, it came out in (select) theaters. No, it’s not some kind of cheesy B-movie…okay it is totally a cheesy B-movie, but not in the way you’d expect.

Rubber is a film that, I personally think, is impossible to really despise, because it uses such a strange device for telling its narrative about a psychic killer tire that it almost transcends the conventions of storytelling in general. It runs in its own strange internal logic, and it’s impossible to argue with it because it exists solely in a world of “no reason”. As the film’s introduction states: Yes, all of life, even your own, is littered with many moments of “no reason”, but Rubber takes it up to eleven. It’s impossible to hate because it exists in its own world, which, by the way, is unlike anything else. Can we really totally hate on something if there’s literally nothing else to compare it to?

I normally go about giving a full-on plot description at this part of the review, but…I already did. It’s literally just a movie about a killer psychic tire. If I tell you anything more, the experience is spoiled. Therefore, because this movie is, in its own way, impossible to hate, and because describing anything more about the movie would lead to spoilers, this review is pretty much obsolete. So, I guess all I can do now is fuck around with my word processor and tell you how my day went.

So, yeah, I basically beat Deadly Premonition on my Xbox today. What a fucking weird game that is. Your main character is an FBI agent who has an imaginary friend named Zach, talks about old B-movies to him in the car, gets predictions for the future in his coffee (srsly), and talks about serial rapists who pissed and drank on young women’s mutilated skulls in casual conversation. Yeah, pretty effed up. It was awesome.

Other than that, I didn’t really do anything else. I don’t know what I’m doing with my life. God, after seeing The Tree of Life I can’t help but feel that I’m wasting my time a lot. It’s actually rather depressing, especially since I (apparently) received spiritual enlightenment from a Terrence Malick movie starring Brad Pitt. I have been writing short stories more often, but I’m too young to be published.

Oh what do you care. These last three paragraphs are being struck out anyway just for comedic effect. Why are you reading this? This is all just one big joke. One big, stupid, stupid, stupid joke that only the comedy-retardant would find funny. I’m practically just bullshitting my way through this. I told you I can’t review this movie. It’s unreviewable…if that’s even a word! So go! Scram! I want to look at my porn now! Why are you still here?!?! You know what, fine, I’ll review the fucking movie.

Okay, so…

There’s an element in the film that involves a huge group of people just standing in the desert, all of them looking through a pair of binoculars at the movie that you are supposed to be watching. Confused? It’s really hard to explain this concept in writing, but basically, it’s a way of breaking the fourth wall without breaking the fourth wall. That really doesn’t help to make things less confusing, but just stick with me.

The group of people with binoculars (called the “Spectators” in the film) are all like a surrogate audience for the film. It’s like a fourth wall within the fourth wall. I don’t know whether to call it the “second wall” or the “eighth wall” or something stupid like that, but yeah, I’m not making this stuff up.

Rubber decides to use these elements as an “allegory” of sorts on audience expectations, except it doesn’t work nearly as well as the other plot going on in the film; you know, the more interesting one about the fucking killer psychic tire that can make people’s heads explode.

Not only is the story of Robert The Tire more interesting, but it’s also much better made too. The opening bits with our Rubber friend learning to roll on its own and explode shit for the very first time has a weird, magical quality to it. There’s no dialogue, and it’s all done through a visual language using the tire’s movements. And considering a tire can’t do much movement outside of just rolling around, it’s an incredibly impressive accomplishment. It actually reminded me a lot of the Pixar short film Luxo Jr. and the first third of WALL-E. If the film was just about Robert’s urge to blow things up, I would’ve been much more satisfied…

Granted, it’s hard to make a full-length feature on a tire that makes shit blow up, but the self-aware elements of the film are definitely polarizing to say the least. If Rubber was just a 40 minute short film about this killer tire, with all the “Spectator” business used sparsely, Rubber could’ve gone to ingeniousness. As it is now, it’s still rather good and I’d recommend it, but the film ends up being “too clever” for its own good because it’s penchant for being self-aware gets in the way of the action in many moments.

Not that all this criticism matters because it’s a film that, like I said, is impossible to really hate. And you have to admire the fact that writer/director Quentin Dupieux put all his hard work and money on a very distinctive creative vision about a “psychic killer tire movie”. That really takes balls.

Final Verdict: Even in spite of its imperfections, there really is nothing like Rubber. It’s narrative devices can be a bit too out there for people, but it’s still an incredibly interesting homage to B-movies and certainly much better than one would expect out of a movie about a psychic killer tire. If anything, it’s worth it just for the first 25-30 minutes alone.

That is all.

See ya next time. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to kill myself only to reincarnate into an SUV. Oh, the lessons you learn from movies. Bye!

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