You may have heard of this one, maybe not. Rubber follows the story of an abandoned car tyre that comes to life and begins killing off the population of a remote desert community by psychokinetically blowing up their heads. Yeah, you read that right. So anyway, after a stupidly long break from this little old site, allow me to review what is probably the most ridiculous movie I’ve ever heard of.
If I haven’t stressed this enough up to this point, let me say it again; This shit is weird! I mean utterly batshit. From the outset everything about the story, including the way it’s told is strange. We start out with an introduction by a police lieutenant (not the actor playing him, the actual character) Yes, the fourth wall is smashed to dust. The Lieutenant addresses you as though you were one of the group of “spectators” who also break the fourth wall. He explains that the movie which you are about to see is “an homage to ‘no reason’, that most powerful element of style.” before pouring a glass of water onto the ground and getting back into the car boot he climbed out of moments before. The spectators then look on through binoculars as the “film” begins. I don’t want to spoil too much but these spectators play just as much part in the film as the eponymous tyre.
The actual story starts when the abandoned tyre picks itself up out of the dirt and rolls on its way. Early on it discovers it can destroy objects and living things without touching them and proceeds at once to the nearest population centre.
I won’t go into the story any more than that because, despite the negative review that is about to ensue, you’re pretty much going to watch the thing anyway. It’s car crash cinema. Oh, and it’ll make you think twice about that turkey on Christmas day, say no more.
Now, on to the nitty gritty. From the police lieutenant’s introduction onwards the movie does nothing but insist upon itself. It is the cinematic equivalent of Ron Burgundy shouting “Come over here and see how good I look!”. Rather than silently using good technique and style to tell a great story, it uses a pretty weak story to showcase directorial technique. Like a tyre on a car that needs tracking (see what I did there) the story wears very thin, very quickly. Tyre encounters a person –> Tyre starts to shake –> Person’s head explodes –> Tyre moves on –> Repeat. I’m guessing this is why all that breaking-the-fourth-wall crap comes in to it because if it didn’t the movie would be a one-trick pony on its way to the glue factory.
That said, the acting isn’t terrible. Spinella’s police lieutenant is particularly engaging but other performances are also far from garbage. The direction and cinematography are good, too. Clever but cheap-as-chips special effects adequately satisfy and careful camera work goes a long way in suspending disbelief over a living, homicidal tyre. All these things though, no matter how well executed shouldn’t be what the movie is all about. If you want to gush about how much you know about movie making techniques, make a documentary while you shoot a real movie… you know, one with a story and not just sequence after sequence of exploding heads.
So in summary; As a demonstration of directorial skill and technical prowess, Rubber is admirable. As a movie, however, it’s just plain terrible. When you cut through the weirdness there’s simply nothing there. Nothing that you’d want to trade 90 minutes of your life for, anyway.