Rubber (May Contain Spoilers)

Sometimes, things happen in films that don’t seem to make much sense. They happen every so often, on a small scale or a large scale, whether it’s how Jack Bauer can go a whole series of 24 without needing to eat or use the loo, or the entire third Matrix movie. But sometimes, you get an entire film that makes absolutely no sense for the sake of making no sense. These films fall solidly in the “surrealism” genre, and they’re very hard to make unless you’re already a bit mental to begin with. Rubber, as it happens, is definitely a surrealism film of the best kind.

Rubber is, as is said by Stephen Spinella’s sheriff character in his opening monologue, an “homage to the ‘no reason’”.  Rubber follows the story of Robert, an inanimate tyre that comes to life and starts exploring the world, only to find he has destructive psycho-kinetic powers and can explode things at will. As he goes on a murderous path of destruction, a mysterious woman becomes his obsession. That’s the official synopsis of the film, but what isn’t mentioned is that the only reason all this is happening is because there are people watching from the start which means the characters involved have to carry on as long as they are still watching. Pretty bizarre stuff, right? Until you’re actually watching the film, it’s hard to grasp just how bizarre and surreal Rubber can get.

Ok, so Rubber is obviously meant to be incredibly kitschy and overblown, and in no way meant to be taken seriously, which is what makes Rubber so funny and entertaining. In fact, if it weren’t for the monologue explaining things happen in films for “no reason” and very nearly breaking the 4th Wall in the process (it turns out he’s talking to the spectators that keep cropping up to keep track of what’s happening, and doubling as a reminder that perhaps other people are just as confused as you are), Rubber perhaps wouldn’t be half as funny as it is. After you’ve accepted the “no reason” rule, the rest is just fun.

Technically speaking, the camera angles from a tyres-eye-view and the way Robert gets animated in such a way that he takes on a personality of his own is a very clever bit of filmmaking in an otherwise bizarre film from the mind of Quentin Dupieux, otherwise known as Mr Oizo, who made the music for Rubber as well.

This is possibly the 3rd or 4th most surreal film I’ve seen (falling short of some Salvador Dali and Louis Bunuel films), but the surreal acts of the sheriff telling the other cops that none of it is real and they can go home despite how the victim is missing a head, or the point at which you realise that watching a tyre roll around has never been so interesting, all contribute to the comedy in some fashion. The only way it could have been more surreal is if they had continually broken the 4th Wall like in Michael Haneke’s Funny Games, but the use of the spectators is almost a round-about way of doing that as they represent the audience during the movie.

Rubber is, essentially, the best kind of a waste of an hour and a half. It’s not serious, it’s not arty, but it is just a total mind-mushing shock-comedy. Rubber gets 7 out of 10 for being completely and utterly batshit, but in the best kind of way.

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3 Comments

  1. It sounds very interesting, I want to see it, and it still reminds me o teeth, have you seen that one? lol.

    • I havent seen it, but I know what Teeth is. I know its also really horrendously acted, but I’d probably still watch it for a laugh! haha

  2. It is good for a laugh, a would assume it is like rubber in the way of being the best kind of a waste of time. A phrase that I like now.


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