Released: 2010 Country: France Language: English Directed by: Quentin Dupieux Written by: Quentin Dupieux Starring:Goodyear, Stephen Spinella, Wings Hauser
MPAA rating: R
Runtime: 82 minutes
Vile Reviewer: Joe
As its opening monologue proclaims, Rubber is a film with absolutely ‘no reason’. It is an exercise in randomness and Quentin Dupieux wonderfully showcases the art of the absurd. The clichéd idea of a movie within a movie is stretched to new lengths in Rubber, and offers a refreshing and original approach to making a compelling and intriguing film.
Rubber is the story of a tire, yes, a rubber tire, who emerges from a desert wasteland to find himself autonomous and capable of explosive telekinetic murder. After rolling onto a desolate highway, and testing these new-found powers on a variety of animals, the maniacal radial becomes obsessed with an attractive young lady and begins to pursue her, leaving a trail of bloody mayhem. While the tire mows down anyone or anything that gets in its way, an onscreen crowd follows along with the story as the violence and body count reach a fever pitch.
Normally, it becomes annoying when a film is aware of its own absurdity, and aspects of such films are often over-indulged to pander to an audience enjoying the faults more than the strengths. Rubber, however, navigates these obstacles with precision, and somehow manages to become more entertaining as it breaks the fourth wall or spirals out of control. The very heart of the film, in fact, is its carefree attitude. If the audience doesn’t become part of the film, Rubber doesn’t care. It’s going on without them, like it or not.
The performances are dedicated and the cast needs to be commended for portraying their characters with very little camp, especially considering the source material. The script gives plenty of opportunities for an oddly delivered line or an awkward reaction, yet the actors avoid nearly every pitfall with their committed performances. There’s never a chance to relate to any of the characters, and you won’t find any depth or development, but that aspect is fairly inconsequential as the film quickly blurs the line of character and audience.
Quentin Dupieux’s direction also deserves a decent amount of praise. It may be simplistic and lingering at times, but it succeeds with an odd style that works well in conveying the absurdity of the film. It heightens the audience’s apprehension for what might happen next, and that’s a great feeling for someone who relishes the unexpected. Add some wonderful shooting locations and tastefully done practical effects, and the overall result is an abnormal art film that is actually fun to watch and avoids being pretentious.
While the film may claim to be assembled with 'no reason,' it doesn’t lunge along without purpose. Dupieux and company obviously set forth to create a film that was creative and enjoyable and they succeeded with flying colors. It appeals to your inner oddball. Rubber is a film of depravity and insanity that is both stylized and admirable, all while being a ton of fun. It’s rightfully unapologetic and, while it may not be for everyone, I had a blast watching the film, and I look forward to seeing what Dupieux has in store for next time.