Movie Review by L.L. Soares
Some movies straddle the line between the absurd and the just plain silly, and it’s a tough line to walk. RUBBER tries this feat, and while it’s not a complete failure, it has a really hard time keeping its balance.
RUBBER is the story a discarded rubber tire that comes to life. One day it simply lifts itself up and starts rolling around the desert, overcoming everything in its path until it comes upon a rabbit. At this point, it starts to rumble and vibrate, and the rabbit explodes! The tire learns how to harness this psychokinetic power until it works its way up the food chain and can eventually cause human beings’ heads to explode (like something out of Cronenberg’s SCANNERS, 1981).
In the meantime, the tire falls in love with a nameless woman (Roxane Mesquida) and follows her around, leaving a trail of corpses along the way.
There is a “movie within a movie” subplot. As the movie begins, a group of people have been dumped in the middle of the desert with binoculars. They are supposed to be “the audience” and watch the tire as it becomes sentient and then goes about its killing spree. At one point, the audience is fed some poisoned turkey, and the “actors” finally feel like they can stop the movie since no one is watching, but one lone spectator in a wheelchair (Wings Hauser) survives, and they have to go on with the show, begrudgingly.
The movie has a lot of fun with narrative and point of view, and the self-awareness on the part of the characters can be funny at times, but it can also be annoying. For most of its running time, I didn’t care for RUBBER all that much. But by the end, the concept had grown on me a bit, and I didn’t hate it completely. That said, RUBBER is far from a home run. It’s the kind of movie that thinks it is much more clever than it actually is.
And (seemingly) endless scenes of the tire rolling along don’t help.
I did, however, enjoy the character of Lieutenant Chad (Stephen Spinella), who early on gives a speech about how every movie has something in it that doesn’t necessarily make sense – something that has “no reason” – but while I liked him, I didn’t like the rest of the cast, and the film itself, as much.
Director Quentin Dupieux should at least be commended for trying to do something completely different. The “idea” of this movie is pretty clever, in a “bizarro” kind of way. Unfortunately, the movie itself is not as good as its initial idea. It’s too much of a one-note joke.
I really wanted to like this one, but, I was left wanting something more.
© Copyright 2011 by L.L. Soares