This is Robert. He is a tire.
Rubber (2010) is a comedy/horror/mystery written and directed by Quentin Dupieux, and stars Stephen Spinella (Milk), Jack Plotnick (House MD TV Series), Wings Hauser (House MD TV Series), Roxane Mesquida (Sex is Comedy), Ethan Cohn (Lady in the Water), Charley Koontz, and Daniel Quinn, in a film about Robert, an inanimate tire that has been abandoned in the desert, that suddenly and inexplicably comes to life.
Finally… A movie about a killer inanimate object–a tire–named Robert. It’s an experimental horror/comedy; a cleverly written and filmed, art-house horror movie. From the very beginning, I knew that Rubber would not be an ordinary horror film. One of the film’s main characters, Lt. Chad (Spinella) opens the film and explains to a small group of tourists that what they will be witnessing is a “different” type of short film. That this film has a dedication just as any other featured Hollywood film–it has a basis in “no reason.” To explain: “Why did the guy in the film The Pianist pretended to be a “homeless bum” when he could play the piano so well? For “no reason.” Perhaps, he is stating that the subject of any film could be based without a good reason story and/or we miss entirely, why a film is made. Thereafter, everyone is given a pair of binoculars, so they can witness the Rubber film be made. A very confusing start to an already confusing film concept.
In comes Robert–the killer tire. Birthed from the dusty desert sands, Robert takes his first awkward “roll” into film–a bit wobbly at first but once he gets going–he’s on a roll? –ahem, and he has psychokinetic power. Which is really funny, because how can a tire have a brain? It’s illogical. Robert travels through the lonely desert and, on occasion, would blow up a beer bottle, rabbit, or bunny. But it wasn’t until Robert was “attacked” by a careless driver in a pick-up truck that he developed an interest in blowing up the heads of the local human inhabitants.
Here’s Robert watching his friends burn.
The film goes back and forth between the tourists, which is a play on “actual” in-theater viewers who are watching the Rubber film in progress. Some of the tourists were speaking “out loud” during the movie and disturbing the other people watching. There even was a guy “filming” the film–only to be told that it is “illegal” to record a motion picture film, while you are watching it (i.e. pirating).
Robert really loses it when he sees a pile of tires set a-flame in the desert, deciding then that the human race has to suffer a wrath, similar to that of his fellow tires. But no worries, Lt. Chad and Sheila–Robert’s romance interest–have to do something to stop this madness, setting up a sting operation to “capture” and/or destroy this brutal murderer.
This is Robert’s girlfriend.
Okay. This film was truly challenging to watch, mostly because it was truly difficult for me to associate a normally inanimate object–well namely, a tire that goes by the name Robert–with murder. My problem is this, the impossibility of this film ever making any sense nor ever being a challenge to watch. The concept overall is pretty cool–but it was in the execution that failed. I can get that the intention of the film; made for “no reason.” Okay…but even if this film was made for “no reason” it also has to be somewhat plausible. At least for some level of minor entertainment value to the film. Granted, this is an experimental film, and its intended purpose is to gauge the viewer into thinking “deeper” on how any film should have been made. I think it steered a bit too much from this, as the situations were too overly outrageous to fathom.
Visually, I did enjoy the attention in cinematographic detail. I was expecting to see flaws like seeing a stick or “invisible” string pulling the tire along, or perhaps a hand there, “pushing” the tire, etc. There wasn’t. Where the film wins here, overall is its implausibility. So, if you still decide that you will watch Rubber and hope that in watching, that you will witness anything more than an outrageous, and original film concept–where a tire, named Robert, explodes the heads of people and fluffy bunnies just because, or for “no reason?”
Prepare to be disappointed.
Image credit: Magnet Releasing