On VUDU Before Theaters Film Review: Rubber

Rubber
Starring: Stephen Spinella, Jack Plotnick, Wings Hauser, Roxane Mesquida, David Bowe
Director: Quentin Dupieux
Magnolia Pictures
Rated R for some violent images and language

During horror movies, we often remind ourselves “it’s only a movie” and that nothing we see on screen is real. It is a work of fiction meant only to entertain. Once we can separate ourselves from the fact that nothing is real, we can suspend our disbelief, and immerse ourselves in the world with which we are presented. Quentin Dupieux’s experiment with genre, Rubber, is fully aware that it is just a movie, even being so blatant as to have a character address the audience that things will happen for “no reason.” What we are presented with then, is a wholly original film that is bizarre, humorous, and a truly wild adventure as the line between movie and audience is thrown out the window. Rubber is now available to rent on VUDU in SD, HD, and HDX as part of our Sneak Peeks program. It is available more than a month ahead of its theatrical release.

Rubber is really two stories in one. The first follows Robert, a tire abandoned in the desert the one day inexplicably comes to life. It soon begins its journey across the desert, traveling along peacefully. When he realizes, however, that he can run over things and destroy them, he begins to go on a path of destruction, at first destroying stray garbage before working his way up to insects. As he comes across larger objects and animals, he discovers he has psychokinetic abilities and can destroy these things with only his mind. He eventually crosses paths with humans, falling in love with a traveler named Sheila (Roxane Mesquida). But his desire to destroy knows no bounds, and soon he’s being hunted down by the police. The second story concerns an actual audience who is watching all these events unfold as they camp out in the desert. They are provided binoculars by a shady accountant (Jack Plotnick) and are addressed by a police lieutenant (Stephen Spinella) that they are about to watch a movie. In fact, as the movie progresses, the lieutenant tries to convince everyone that they are only movie characters and that they can all go home. But one of the desert audience members is still watching, forcing the lieutenant and everyone else to continue to play out the movie.

Rubber is a mix of a variety of genres including horror, mystery, drama, comedy, and science fiction. It dabbles mainly in the bizarre and absurd, and definitely holds up to its motif of “no reason.” Dupieux posits that everything that happens in movies happens for “no reason.” It’s a bit of a stretch to think that filmmakers of other movies didn’t have a purpose or an intention behind making their film, but when thinking about it on a deeper, philosophical level, Dupieux’s reasoning begins to make sense. In movies, as in all other forms of art, anything can happen. The boundaries are limited only by the imagination of the creator. Because anything can happen, everything that happens occurs for “no reason.” It can be a bit of a hard thing to understand, but think about it when watching other films, and see if maybe that notion starts to make sense.

The philosophical element of the film aside, Rubber is entertaining on many other levels. The absurd idea of a tire coming to life creates a funny spin on the horror genre. Since the tire’s actions can’t be taken seriously, it’s hard to do anything but laugh at everything it does, from lusting after a woman, to watching NASCAR on television. Considering the film’s low budget, the special effects are very impressive. You’ll no doubt be asking yourself how they did what they did. The tire sure looks very real, but unless they put some kind of remote control in it, it has to be CGI. Even the path of destruction the tire leaves in its wake looks very convincing. As technology becomes more easily accessible to filmmakers of all budgets, the quality of what the audience sees only improves for the better.

If you’re a fan of David Lynch and Quentin Tarantino, then Rubber is just the right movie for you. It’s definitely not going to appeal to everyone, but it is encouraged that you take a chance on an independent film that is truly trying something new and original. With Hollywood continually dipping into its past with remakes upon remakes or adapting even the minorest of comic book characters, it’s refreshing to know that there are still filmmakers out there like Quentin Dupieux who buck the trend and try something different. Rubber just may be one of the zaniest and peculiar movies ever, but everyone said the same thing when they saw David Lynch’s first film “Eraserhead”. And we all know what a promising and amazing career that Lynch has had since. Here’s hoping Dupieux can have a long career of original and unique art to offer us.

DID YOU KNOW?

Director Quentin Dupieux also served as screenwriter, cinematographer, and editor on Rubber. He also performed duties as the film’s composer under his pseudonym, Mr. Oizo. He is primarily a musician as Mr. Oizo, a French performer in electronic, avant-garde, and experimental genres.