Sunday, March 18, 2012

REVIEW: Rubber (2010)

Folks, I am here to talk to you today about a movie so bizarre and so out of this world that it is its own genre entirely. I am here not just to criticize this bizarre little freakshow of a movie, but to try and explain it, and figure out how we as a society are to look at it as a work of a---okay, seriously, it’s a goddamn movie about a psychic tire who falls in love with a woman and blows peoples’ heads up. It’s really not that big of a deal.

Director: Quentin Dupieux
Starring: Stephen Spinella, Roxanne Mesquida and a tire; yes, these people are sharing their star billing with a tire.

But the thing is, the movie sort of treats it like it is. I expected a really schlocky campfest out of this movie, but that’s only about half of what I got. The plot is pretty much what I said – a psychic tire goes on a rampage and blows up peoples’ heads, and falls in love with some chick he sees on the road. However, there is also the secondary plotline of the audience watching with binoculars out in the middle of the desert, who apparently have to be killed off by this mysterious man in a suit, so the movie can end, or something. If there’s some kind of commentary in that, I missed it; it’s mostly just odd. Only one of the guys is too smart to fall for the assassination attempts and ends up surviving, thus forcing the movie to keep going on. Even when you don’t want it to and the characters don’t want it to.

In the beginning of the film, a man climbs out of the back of a car and breaks the fourth wall to talk to the viewer about the ‘great’ movie tradition of “no reason,” he calls it. This means the nonsensical things we overlook due to suspension of disbelief in many classic films – why characters don’t go to the bathroom, for example. Apparently, that is his excuse for the rest of this film, which features, again, a psychic killer tire lusting after a woman at a cheap motel. Isn’t there a bit of a divide in magnitude there? Overlooking not seeing a character go to the bathroom is a world away from overlooking a tire that comes to life for absolutely no reason and kills people with psychic powers. Those are very, very different things, and the fallacy of the movie’s argument goes right over its own head, resulting in a rather humorous effect, but not for the reasons the director intended. It’s more funny in spite of itself.

And okay, I get it, it’s supposed to be ridiculous and make no sense. “Congratulations” to the “clever” people who made it. But would it have been too much to ask for a movie that wasn’t this boring? There are a few stand-out moments, but a lot of the movie is just dull, and drags on for no reason. The novelty of the psychic tire gets old fast, and then you’re just left with the occasional stupid line from one of the film’s far too many characters. This just doesn’t really have much going for it. Shame. I never actually thought I would say I was underwhelmed by a movie with this plot summary, but here it is. The world is a funny place…

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