Rubber (2010)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Rubber</strong> (2010)

(On DVD, October 2011) I suppose that when a film begins with a monologue in which a character directly addresses the audience in explaining why it celebrates having “no reason”, it shouldn’t be surprising if the rest of Rubber is a mixture of meta-fictional experimentation and half-hearted genre thrills.  It could have been otherwise, though: As ludicrous a premise as “killer tire” can be, it would have been possible to turn it into a reasonably inventive horror/comedy hybrid.  Instead, though, director Quentin Dupieux dispenses with the thrills, adds a framing device that leeches energy away from the film, endlessly circles the same few ideas and seems inordinately proud of himself for screwing with viewers’ expectations.  Not all of Rubber is terrible: There’s some interesting work in making “Robert” more than a rolling tire telekinetically making heads explode, and there are a few meta-fictional elements here that, if correctly employed, would have been rich in possibilities: The observers/audience could have been an effective Greek chorus, or commentary on the craven nature of horror audiences –instead, they’re almost entirely thrown away too soon.  The conceit of actors making a movie that relies on viewer’s attention is similar, as is the basic horror structure of a tire killing people for “no reason”.  But those intriguing elements never gel, and they’re undermined by other more basic flaws: The film’s pacing is deathly, and what would have been impressive in a short ten-minute film here feel overdrawn and beaten to death in 85 minutes.  The excessive gore seems more immature than deserved in a film that can’t be bothered to deliver even the most basic movie-watching satisfaction.  Ultimately, though, the DVD supplements (more particularly a fake interview with backwards-running segments and blatantly wrong translation from French) confirm what the film suggests: A self-satisfied director with no discipline, no appreciation for the genre he has chosen to work in and quite a bit of contempt for his audience.  As much as I’m not opposed to films that go off the beaten track, this really isn’t the way to do it –I felt my enthusiasm for Rubber deflate steadily throughout.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *