Directed by French DJ Mr.Oizo (Quentin Dupieux), Rubber is a bizarro horror-comedy about a killer tire named Robert and his murderous adventures in the Californian desert.
Opening with a fourth-wall-breaking monologue concerning the film being a homage to the “no reason” theory often employed in cinema, Rubber proceeds to mess with genre conventions by having an on-screen audience watch the film – alongside the viewer – with binoculars and they comment on the action intermittently. There is also a sheriff who frequently acknowledges the fact that he’s in a film.
Ironic self-awareness aside, Rubber‘s star is without a doubt Robert the tire and his psycho-kinetic head exploding skills. As we witness Robert awake and begin to roll through the desert, he first encounters small obstacles such as a rabbit or a crow on which he tests his telekinetic abilities, thus reducing them to piles of gore. Then he moves on to a small town where he commences to explode the noggins of anyone in his way.
After finally being tracked down by law enforcement, Robert is shot to pieces but reincarnates into a tricycle and trundles off down the road, heading towards Hollywood.
Honestly, there’s really not much to Rubber. When I first heard the premise I thought how could this possibly go wrong? but after a while it does become slightly redundant.
There are definitely humourous moments and the idea itself is genius; it’s the execution that seems flawed. Had it been presented as a goofy Attack of the Killer Tomatoes-type deal minus the witty self-referencing perhaps it would’ve worked better, or maybe as a short film rather than feature length.
Nonetheless, it is definitely worth a look, just didn’t live up to my (admittedly high) expectations.
Rubber is available on R4 DVD from Madman Entertainment.