Tag Archives: Narrative

Bizzaro Film Review: Rubber

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.

Bizzaro Book Review: Mr. Peanut by Adam Ross

Guys, you know that thing where you ask your wife, “What’s wrong honey?” and your wife says, “Nothing” but what she really means is, “You are in trouble, but I am not going to tell you why, so there“? This book is about that.

Yes. You heard me right. If you are a married man, this is the most terrifying book you will read. EVER.

Mr. Peanut is about marriage and murder, and the contempt bred by familiarity that bridges the gap between the two. The narrative follows three sets of marriages which are intertwined in such a way as to make them into a literal literary Möbius strip.

If that sounds confusing to you, then trust me, it is. Quentin Tarantino could learn a thing or two about non-linear storytelling from Adam Ross. The strange and twisted tales of three men and their wives overlap in ways that are not immediately apparent.

The story in a nutshell (heh heh) is this: David Peppin is accused of murdering his wife, and two detectives must sort through the dizzying threads of his story to determine whether he is really the killer.

But far from being a straightforward murder mystery, this story delves deep into the dark side of marriage, bringing to light the pain, joy, and ultimate boredom that can arise out of spending so many years of your life with the same person.

The greatest problem that this book faces is that it incredibly clever. This might seem like a strange thing to criticize, especially for the guy who absolutely adores House of Leaves, but the problem here is that the cleverness overtakes the flow of the story. The disjointed non-linear narrative is fine to a point, but when the book drops one narrative thread which had previously been the driving force of the book and jumps into another almost completely unrelated story for the space of more than a hundred pages, it’s somewhat disorienting and discouraging to the reader.  I understand that the jump was necessary to complete the books unique Möbius strip structure, but in my mind the novelty of that structure was not enough to justify the sacrifices made to the story’s forward momentum.

Having said that, this book is still a fantastic read, quite unlike anything else I’ve ever reviewed here before. In spite of its occasional failings it triumphs as a treatise on marriage, infidelity, love and redemption. If you’re looking for a book that will grab your mind and suck you into its twisted world, look no further. Adam Ross’s Mr. Peanut has got what you need.