I’m sure that I few of the more ‘hardcore’ film lovers will be aware of at least the concept of this truly crazy film – a telekinetic tyre (or ‘tire’ for any Americans reading this) which goes on a killing rampage for reasons unknown. Completely and utterly silly, I know, but I’m glad that Rubber is very aware of this and is in fact trying to make a statement about films in general. The opening scene introduces the viewers to this idea of movies having things happen ‘for no reason whatsoever’, therefore suggesting that they’ve decided to push this concept to the extreme. To a killer tyre, no less. I’m not even kidding.
People are often split when talking about Rubber, as it seems to be more of an experimental film which doesn’t really conform to a specific genre. There are both the horror and comedy elements (comedy definitely being the more prominent), but also attempts to be a deep and meaningful film – a reason behind the ‘no reason’, if you like. Even though the film is ridiculous, quite overtly so, there definitely seems to be more substance to it than I initially thought there would be. Whilst ‘normal’ films thrive on getting the viewers to immerse themselves fully into the film (to the point where they forget that they’re even watching a film), Rubber has decided to turn this on its head by reminding us that it’s a film at every step of the way. Even during the ‘spectator’ scenes we are given the impression that the mere act of watching the film is the only thing keeping the film going in the first place. Oh yes, this film is big on irony.
I also thought that the other movie references (some more subtle than others) throughout worked really well, and assured us that the director (Quentin Dupieux, who’s French, if anyone’s interested) knows what he’s talking about. My favourite was the shower scene with the tyre – absolutely barking mad but I couldn’t help but chuckle! It was actually very well shot, I thought, which is again something which came as a surprise to me because I just presumed that it was going to be more B-movie kind of material. It just goes to show how wrong presumptions can be.
I did personally like the film because it felt quite refreshing, however, it will never be one that audiences will watch on more than a couple of occasions, simply because it’s a tad too ‘gimmicky’ for that. You watch it, you nod, you smile, and then you move on to other things. It’s hard to take a movie about a tire that blows stuff up with its…erm…mind (?) too seriously, but it was different. And no one can take that away from it, that’s for sure. I suppose there were many people out there who were simply dying to see a film about a killer tyre, and now at last that itch has been scratched.
Whether you liked it or not, one thing you can’t deny is the fact that this isn’t something that’s been done before. I always applaud directors who try to break conventions and push boundaries, and even if the outcome doesn’t turn out quite as spectacular as hoped, it was still an interesting, albeit peculiar, watch. This is a film about films, and about film audiences – something which has never before been explored in such a bizarre yet effective way. For this reason, I recommend that any serious film lovers should check this one out. You’d be hard pressed not to find it at least mildly interesting, though perhaps it’s not one for the DVD collection (unless you find it for a couple quid anywhere!).