Dave White
Rubber Review

Dave's Rating:

3.5

It's about a tire that kills people.

Who's In It: Stephen Spinella, Jack Plotnick, Wings Hauser, Roxane Mesquida, Ethan Cohn, Charley Koontz, Cecilia Antoinette

The Basics: Somewhere in the American desert, an abandoned tire comes to life and begins to roll under its own power. Then it discovers it has telekinetic abilities that allows it to blow up anything it wants with its tire-mind. It blows up other inanimate objects, little animals and then people, becoming especially obsessed with a lone female motorist. Meanwhile, a group of stranded tourists, each of them using binoculars, is watching the murderous mayhem unfold, first as spectators and then as participants in the action. And throughout, a local sheriff tries to convince everyone involved that it's all fake and that they are actually part of a movie. So why does any of this transpire? The sheriff, speaking directly to the camera in the first minutes of the film, explains it before you even see it: "No reason."

What's The Deal: You can psych yourself into the tire-as-protagonist thing pretty easily if you've seen enough big Hollywood films. It's not more or less ridiculous than identifying with Johnny Depp as a lizard or investing your viewing energy in any action movie where the main characters are human G.I. Joe dolls or cars that turn into fighting space robots. In fact, this movie requires more energy because it's about its subject and it's also about the act of watching and the consequences of that act. Because when it's not blowing up random objects and desert dwellers, the tire retreats and the movie becomes about the tourists who're standing in for you, the person viewing Rubber. Their passivity is critiqued and brutally punished; you get to leave when it's all over, amused and unscathed.

How Long Before The Joke Wears Thin: That's a question that can be answered only by a person who knows her/himself very well. You have to decide if you're the type of moviegoer that wants to see an absurdist horror movie about a killer tire where a good chunk of the action involves that tire hanging out and watching vintage aerobics videos on a motel room television, where another significant amount of screen time is devoted to the interrogation of the audience and where the line between comedy and boredom is blurred for most of the final hour (it's an 80 minute film). Personally, I'm all for any movie with the nerve to demand that you take it seriously and unseriously at the same time while it anthropomorphizes a slab of rubber and creates a cuddly empathy for its urge to kill. I was sad when he was sad and I cheered him on to each fresh murder.

Attention, Small Town-Dwelling Weird Movie Fans: You don't have to drive 200 miles to the nearest big city art house theater to see this. Just go to the film's official website and find out how to get it on-demand. http://www.rubberthemovie.com/

See Also: The late '70s horror movie, The Car, starring James Brolin. It's about a big black car that goes on a driverless rampage. Of course, that one features a "reason" for the car's behavior: it's possessed by the devil.

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Comments (3)

Nigel Octavious - 4-08-2011 9:10 PM
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Dave- 3 and a half for a tire that kills people? Your indie taste is sometimes a little misleading. I still can't believe you gave the king's speech three and this three and a half... ?

Nick Wilson - 4-13-2011 3:36 AM
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Any movie that essentially functions in the 5th dimension deserves 3 1/2 stars at least. I imagine the storyboard for this one was written on a mobius strip.

Tyler - 4-15-2011 1:29 PM
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From director quentin dupieux, and the actors that all are fresh upcoming unknowns; I would have to say this film was actually exceptional and am very disappointed with the 3 1/2 star rating. Though I agree with Dave that this movie cultivates a relationship with an object so bent on murder, that you inevitably develop emotions for this "protagonist" whilst watching the film. Definitely a must see, check it out

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