A few weeks ago we posted the trailer to one of the most unusual movies we’ve covered on Collider: Rubber. While most movies feature a person as the protagonist, Rubber is the story of a murderous tire with telepathic powers. The film premiered a few days ago at the Cannes Film Festival to mixed reviews, but that hasn’t stopped Magnet Releasing from picking up the US rights. No word yet on when they plan on releasing the film, but I’d imagine it will be in the near future. For more on the film, including some reviews from around the web, hit the jump:
Here’s the synopsis:
Directed by Quentin Dupieux (Steak, Nonfilm), Rubber is the story of Robert, an inanimate tire that has been abandoned in the desert, and suddenly and inexplicably comes to life. As Robert roams the bleak landscape, he discovers that he possesses telepathic powers that give him the ability to destroy anything he wishes without having to move. At first content to wreak havoc on small desert creatures and various lost items, his attention soon turns to humans, resulting in the most gory vehicular-related mayhem inflicted on screen by an “inanimate” object since Christine. Rubber stars Stephen Spinella, Roxane Mesquida, Jack Plotnick, Wings Hauser, Ethan Cohn, and Charley Koontz.
But while the script promises no greater than a film with no rhyme or reason, it all comes together to deliver a film brimming with comic brilliance and manic originality. The tire gets a credit, as Robert, and Robert deserves praise for his performance. You empathize with him, laugh at him, get to know him. You start referring to a piece of rubber as a ‘him.’
Indeed, it’s less outrageous comedy horror than it is a sweet and nuanced coming of age piece. We witness this tire come to life, take its first tentative steps in the world, go through reckless adolescence and graduate into adulthood from the film’s start to its finish.
All the while it’s punctuated by reaction shots from a small group of audience members in the desert who are watching events unfold through binoculars. They comment on what we’re seeing, on its believability and entertainment value. They live the film in real time and occasionally interact with its characters. It’s all very odd and very meta, but it doesn’t prove jarring. Instead it adds another surreal level to an already surreal movie.
I don’t want to say this film was a complete waste because when or where will we see a story about an angry, sentient tire ever again, and if that concept alone interests you, than it’s worth checking out. But it’s just so wacky, so frickin’ weird from start to finish, with the odd audience-in-the-film secondary story and the tire’s love affair with a beautiful girl, that it’s just hard to actually love it. At one point halfway through, after they try to poison and kill off the audience, a police officer just says to stop acting and go home because it’s over, but since it is real, the story resumes. Good or bad, pointless or not, it was at least a very unique experience.
Quentin Dupieux’s Rubber would have made an absolutely stellar twenty minute short, one that would have certainly been an enormous cult hit however you chose to measure it. How it works as a seventy five (or so) minute feature, however, is up for considerably more debate. The run time is undoubtedly going to divide people along very sharp lines. For those who thrive on the willfully absurd, Dupieux’s creation will be an instant hit. For those whose tolerance is lower, however, the joke will likely run thin will before the run time comes to an end.