Friday, April 01, 2011

Rubber— A Tire That Kills People.

When Robert, an inanimate tire, discovers his destructive telepathic powers, he soon sets his sights on a desert town; in particular, a mysterious woman becomes his obsession. Quentin Dupieux’s Rubber is definitely one of the most quirky and ridiculous films you’ve never seen. It sets out from the very beginning to make sure the audience knows that they have never seen a film quite like Rubber. Why is this film beyond explanation? No reason. And that is exactly what Rubber is— an ode to the ‘no reason’ of cinema. In a strange prologue where one of the characters is speaking directly to the audience he explains the intent of the entire film— “no reason.” The film revolves around a tire have buried and forgotten in the middle of the desert.

The tire, for some unknown reason, wakes up and we follow is discovery of consciousness as well as discovery of his powers. Psychokinetic powers like being able to make things explode. Things like people’s heads. That’s right. A psychokinetic murderous tire that rolls about the desert making people's heads explode. This tire has a name as well. As we said, his name is Robert.

As the film rolls on (did you like that?), we start to disconnect from ‘tire’ and connect with ‘Robert.’ He becomes a sentient being— rubber or not— and the audience gets pulled in to who he is and how he feels. Yes, how the tire feels. In the film there is a group of people watching from the desert with binoculars. Watching the same thing we are watching on the screen except they are watching it live. Giving commentary as we go and basically echoing what the film audience should be feeling at that time by speaking directly to the audience almost. This meta factor of the film adds a strange layered effect to the story that makes the movie feel like a movie within a movie. Ultimately, it all doesn’t really make any sense, but for a good reason— the absence of reason.

Rubber would have made an incredible short and would have been a cult hit regardless who was reviewing it, but it definitely took a considerable risk by releasing as a feature length film. If the film doesn’t get its hooks in you from the start, you will quickly grow tired of the novelty and start wondering where in the hell it is going and how much longer is it going to take. For those seeking the genuinely absurd, Rubber will deliver on every note.

If you prefer your films, as well as what you do and how you spend your time in life, to have reason, then Rubber probably isn’t for you. Outside of those reservations however, Rubber is a completely ridiculous and fun ride where the filmmaker is basically pointing a finger at himself, as well as the entire history of filmmaking, and laughing by celebrating the asininity and pointlessness of the world of cinema. The police deputy in the film, played by Thomas F. Duffy, asks the audience in his prologue, “Why can’t we see the air around us?” No reason. Why is the president killed by someone he’s never even met in JFK?” No reason. “Why is E.T. gray?” No reason. Rubber sets out to make you realize and appreciate the “no reason” factor of cinema.

By the end you are asking yourself, “Why am I enjoying this?” or even better, “Why am I even watching this?” And the answer is most definitely— no reason... and THAT is what makes this film so cool. You just enjoy the "ride"... or the "roll" if you want to be technical about it.

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