Who's In It: Stephen Spinella, Jack Plotnik, Wings Hauser, Roxane Mesquida, David Bowe
The Basics: Robert is a tire (yes, you read that correctly) who has recently awakened in the desert and discovered he can make things explode using psychokinetic powers. He then rolls on a rampage making humans' heads explode, and he also meets an attractive French traveler (Mesquida) with whom he becomes obsessed. On top of all that, there is a group of spectators in the desert watching Robert's every move as an audience, giving the activity in the film a kind of theatrical feel. Are you confused yet?
What's The Deal: If you are at all intrigued by the above paragraph or the trailer, please do not read any further and just go see the film. To discuss it is to spoil it. I liked the movie, and now that you have my opinion, get out of here. Come back when you've seen it, because the rest of this review is spoiler-ific.
For Everyone Still Reading: This movie is totally fantastic. It's not entirely perfect, but I love everything that I feel went into making it. Director Quentin Dupieux's crazy sense of humor and reverence for filmmaking shines through. It's like watching Theater of the Absurd, except mixed with some hilarious film conventions that could have a marvelous deeper meaning if you want to think about it metaphorically. If not, that's fine too, because in the end it's just a funny movie about a killer tire. Dupieux insists that he wasn't trying to make any grandiose statements and that he just wanted to write a fun, crazy movie in three weeks. He does admit that certain interpretations can fit into the film nicely, though. And that's a fun game to play.
Keep Them Doggies Rollin': I am most fascinated with the main character, Robert. This is filmmaking at its best--all showing, no telling. The tire was operated by both a puppeteer and a remotely operated device within the walls of the tire, and the result is a totally personified object. Robert might even be considered more expressive than certain starlets working today. Watching the sequence where Robert first learns he can blow stuff up is on par with any of Martin Scorsese's long takes.
So About Those Deeper Meanings: The film begins with a speech from the Lieutenant (Spinella) telling us directly that some of the best movies have elements that are unexplainable, and that we ought to just relax and enjoy. This is our only warning for how berserk the rest of the film is. You've got snarky spectators who are poisoned, with the only survivor being the gentleman in a wheelchair without a trace of irony in him. There's a cop who acts as puppet master, reluctantly continuing with "the show" that they're all putting on since someone is watching, and the French love interest who treats this event as though it happens all the time in France. Is this a comment on our ferocious appetite for entertainment, that we'll stop at nothing to get it? Or is it just a wacky movie about a rubber tire? The debate rolls on.