Friday, 20 January 2012

Rubber (2010)



Not a Goodyear


In the California desert, a tire comes to life and embarks on a killing spree as an audience watches the events unfold through binoculars. The tire kills by vibrating intensely and psychokinetically causing people's heads to explode. Settling into an obscure, desert town, the tire finds a woman that he is interested in. A sheriff investigating the murders is inside and outside the diegesis, sometimes participating in the narrative action and sometimes commenting on it.





The film opens with a fourth-wall breaking monologue, explaining how many things in films happen for no apparent reason, including a few examples along the way. This was an enjoyable little opening that did a good enough job to set the scene for this pretty unconventional film.

To go along with the rubber tire's adventures, we get a group of people watching the tire through binoculars, as if they are watching a film in real-life. They act as a commentary upon the film, and are the more interesting part of the film, but I did feel that their part got a bit too meta for my liking towards the end of the film.

The film raises many questions that don't get answered, and we, the viewers, are meant to go along with it. I'm not talking about the obvious questions, which are "How is the tire alive?" and "Why does it have psychic powers?", but more about how the people watching got roped into watching the tire's adventures, why did they not bring any food and why the adventures couldn't stop until all the audience weren't watching. I suppose the most obvious answer here is "No reason", as referred to in the opening monologue, but it just feels like a frustratingly lazy answer.

The tire desperately wanted a specific Limp Bizkit
song to play while he rolled along

I do find myself questioning director Quentin Dupieux's approach to telling the story here, as from the beginning, the rubber tire's tale is plagued by an extremely slow pace that puts the plotting off and cannot help but become pretty repetitive all throughout. The viewers are not given any consistent characters to root for throughout the film's running time, all we get instead is a rubber tire who goes around telekinetically blowing stuff up without any motivation.

Rubber is a film that boasts a unique and intriguing premise, but a slow pace, a repetitive nature and no consistent characters to care about leaves us with a film that wastes it's potential and ends up feeling flat. The audience watching the tire through binoculars pretty much save this film, but not by much.

2 comments:

  1. Like I said; I really like this film. To me, it feels both fresh and unique, something we don't get often nowadays. Although of course, something that essentially comes right out and says that it's going to be a pointless hit of cinematic acid isn't going to appeal to everyone, but I respect your opinion. Good write-up.

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  2. 'Not a Goodyear...' I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE!
    This is a film I've wanted to see for ages just because of how unconventional it looks!

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