Friday, February 25, 2011


Made as straight pulp, "Rubber" by Quentin Dupieux maybe would be more successful than it is. But then again, that would be pretty, ahem, tiresome. We see a tire come to life and make things (including human beings) blow up by harnessing some sort of power. This happens many times over the course of the film, always shot in the exact same way. No insight into the character of the tire, as a banal but more entertaining film would attempt to do. Just an Anton Chigurh type, one that can only be stopped with death and not even that.

So, to counterbalance this, we have a meta-narrative involving a nerdy dude apparently on order from an unseen boss who sets up "spectators" with binoculars to watch the tire. This is considered "watching a movie," and although I see what Dupieux is aiming at with this conceit, it fails due to the fact that it makes little to no sense. Of course, suspending disbelief is step one in watching a movie about a serial murdering tire. But in a film anything is possible, we all know. Having people watch action from miles away that goes inside and outside of buildings with binoculars, though, just makes no logical sense even in a fantastical film such as "Rubber" and is too clunky to be accepted. The reason this section is in here is to both pad the film (it's only 85 minutes long anyways) and also to look at the dynamics of audiences, specifically midnight ones. I get it, but Dupieux could have achieved it with more gusto and with less of a heavy hand than he does.

I guess the resulting mishmash produces more interesting results than otherwise, though. Jack Plotnick as the orchestrating dude does pretty well, most notably when he gives an aimless monologue on when he went with his family to the mountains. Plus, Stephen Spinella as Lt. Chad brings down the house with an arresting opening speech, and even though I think his character (who gets out of the trunk of a car, talks, and gets right back in) should have been contained in this scene, he does end up supplying the film with a bit more life. "Rubber" doesn't really manage to satisfy for the most part. It has some memorable characters and a bizarre atmosphere, but skids ultimately to disposability. C+

1 comment:

Colin said...

I think I'm going to have to try this one...