Man, I do not know what to say about this movie. And don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I don’t have an opinion here. The problem is, that I’ve got two of them. One opinion is that this film is sheer cinematic brilliance. The second is that it is the worst kind of pretentious crap.
And the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced both opinions are right.
Rubber is a film about a killer tire. It is also a film about the way people expect a film to be made, and why they’re willing to accept some breaks from reality but not others. I think.
Therefore I am.
The movie opens with a shot of a dirt road with chairs standing of the middle of it, looking vaguely like some kind of surrealist painting. Then a car pulls onto the road and swerves back and forth hitting every chair, just so, making it fall over without doing any damage.
At this point you’re probably wondering what this shot has to do with anything. Luckily the car pulls up in front of the camera, and a man dressed as a sheriff gets out of the trunk and explains it, saying that in all films there are certain elements which are included for “no reason” and that this is a film that explores the deeper nature of that practice. Then it is revealed that instead of addressing the camera, the man was in fact addressing a group of people who are getting ready to watch the movie happen in real-time with binoculars in the desert. Then a discarded tire wakes up and starts rolling around killing things.
Yes. It’s that kind of movie.
Probably the most interesting aspect of the film is the continued interaction between the sheriff and the viewers. And when I say, “continued interaction” I mean, “repeated murder attempts.” I would guess that this was supposed to symbolize something about the artist/viewer relationship, but since we are assured that this is a film about things that happen in films for no reason I’m gonna say that he’s probably doing it just to be weird.
And in the end, it kinda works.
Rubber isn’t what you’d call a good film, but it is a film that sticks in your mind and makes you think.The cinematography is masterful and though the bizarre nature of the film wears out its welcome after a while, luckily it doesn’t overstay for too long, wrapping up at a neat 82 minutes.
It’s an unusually accessible arthouse flick, that toys with questioning the very nature of fiction. It is both delightfully playful and utterly serious, leaving the viewer wondering whether he should be laughing or thinking.
And the answer is, as always, probably both.