The very opening scene of RUBBER prepares the stage for the world the viewer is about to enter. It’s a world of surrealism, horror and black comedy. It’s self-aware, ridiculous and just plain dumb. But all of this is prefaced by a monologue about things in films that happen for no reason. With that disclaimer out of the way the film gets underway with a group of people each being handed binoculars and pointed to a spot from which to watch the spectacle of an abandoned rubber tyre coming to life.
The tyre awakens in a dusty desert half buried in sand. Like a newborn it’s very shaky on it’s feet, but quickly learns to stay upright and before long is merrily rolling through the sun-soaked plains until in comes across a plastic bottle that it easily crushes under its weight. It’s not until it comes across a glass beer bottle that refuses to break under the mighty tread that it reels back, pouts like a two year old and starts to shake and vibrate in crazy rhythms until the bottle explodes. Off the tyre goes happy with it’s newly discovered telekinetic powers. Then like most young serial killers in the making it, turns its attention to small animals, exploding their unsuspecting heads.
It’s not long before the lone drifter wanders into a small desert town and crosses paths with the locals and so begins a veritable head-popping spree and ensuring manhunt for the killer with no one suspecting it could be a tyre except for the little boy who everyone flatly refuses to believe.
Rubber serves up all the B-movie clichés and the in-film audience reinforces them by commenting on them all throughout the movie even to the point where a wheelchair-bound Wings Hauser interrupts a scene to tell the actors that the scene is taking too long and makes no sense at all.
The style is that of a beautifully shot directorial mashup of Sergio Leone, David Lynch with a healthy dose of Cronenberg’s SCANNERS. The soundtrack is also worthy of note as it was produced under Dupieux’s musical pseudonym Mr. Oizo.
Whether you think this an instant cult classic or a piece of pretentious film-wank really depends on which way you roll.
Directed by Quentin Dupieux
Studio: Optimum Releasing
Release date: 11th April, 2011