Rubber - the weird story of a sentient tyre

Advertised as a bizarre grindhouse horror flick about a murderous, living car tyre, Rubber is actually a cinematic experiment designed to trap the very people who would be interested in that kind of movie.

What awaits you when you get caught in that trap? Hit the jump to find out:

A desert road, littered with wooden chairs. A man stands, holding several pairs of binoculars. A car approaches, carefully knocking over each chair. As it stops, a town sheriff climbs from the boot and begins addressing the camera. He talks about Spielberg and Polanski films. The camera pulls back and we see he is talking to an audience. The man hands them the binoculars and they turn to look off into the distance. They observe as an old tyre stands up and rolls itself away. This is the least odd thing that happens in Rubber.

Billed as a weird grindhouse horror flick, this is far more Bausch than Bay; or rather, perhaps the closest approximation is Russ Meyer at his most surreal. You see, the aforementioned tyre not only moves of its own accord, it is sentient... and it has psychokinetic powers... and a lust for blood... blood and naked ladies...

Following on from Human Centipede, this is a film that succeeds in actively mocking its audience. As more and more bizarre images are flung onto the screen, and the binocular-wielding "spectators" react in more and more shallow and unpleasant ways, while relentless abuse only increases their determination to watch the action at their own expense, the film is almost screaming at you: '"why are you still watching this garbage?!'

Despite French writer/director Quentin Dupieux' assertion that great films have "no reason" for what happens in them, it is clear that the point of Rubber is precisely to ask the above question. There truly is a lot of rubbish in films and it is clear that many directors have a sadistic disdain for their audience, so why do we go to such lengths to watch, boxing ourselves in darkened rooms and demanding to be entertained?

Dupieux doesn't give you any answers, this is an experiment to see just how far he can push the bottom of the barrel. Like Brechtian theatre, this film does everything it can to make sure you never forget that this is a fiction and never begin to enjoy yourself or be drawn into the story. Still, he clearly has a lot of skill. It's not easy to show lengthy scenes of a tyre rolling through the desert and actually manage to convey some character progression for the tyre!

Rubber isn't what we'd call enjoyable, but it has a lot of questions to ask anyone who's ever liked a trashy movie or would be sucked in by the film's deceptive premise. We'll be very interested to see what Dupieux comes up with next.

1 comment:

  1. Im typing this as I watch rubber and l can say is it's an entertainingly odd but interesting movie.
    I would never of thought I'd that about a film starting a tyre