“In Steven Spielberg’s ET, why is the alien brown? No reason. In Love Story, why do these two people fall madly in love with each other? No reason. In Oliver Stone’s JFK why is the president assassinated by a complete stranger? No reason.”
And just like that, we begin the story of a tire that terrorizes a Midwest town by making people’s heads explode. A tire. That picks itself up from the desert floor and begins a wobbly journey of self discovery by crushing cans and bottles, exploding rabbits and birds, and maybe even falling in love with a lovely brunette in a Cabriolet convertible. Or maybe not. Point is, it’s a goddamn tire that makes people’s heads explode.
Rubber, as described above, is about a newly sentient tire that begins to murder the local townsfolk with a Scanners-like ability of telekinetic head ‘sploding. But it’s also not about that at all… it opens with the town sheriff talking directly to the camera, to the audience, and as is shortly revealed, to an audience in the movie itself. We’re told this will be an “homage to ‘no reason.’ The most popular element of style.” So the audience within the film sits on a hillside with binoculars and watches as the tire begins life and becomes a murderer. It’s entertainment they’re after, and they’re hooked enough to spend the night without food and water for, well, no discernible reason.
While the initial synopsis seems, at least tenuously, to lean the film towards the direction of the horror or thriller genres, the truth is not nearly as simple. Heads explode and bloody bits are splattered across hotel rooms, car interiors, and city streets, but this movie is one hundred percent comedy. It’s easily the funniest film of the fest so far and would even rank highly compared against this year’s comedies in general release.
The laughs are spread thick throughout the film, but many of the best lines belong to the sheriff. His delivery is so incredibly pitch perfect for the words exiting his mouth that his presence onscreen quickly becomes synonymous with a smile on your face. He first appears climbing from the trunk of a car and taking a glass of water from the driver before addressing the viewers, and his contributions only get progressively weirder. Writer/director Quentin Dupieux (aka Mr. Oizo) is apparently known best for his mad DJ skillz and music videos, but if this is indicative of what he can do with a feature length project I sincerely hope he never enters a club again. The film itself is already a perfect mix for the eyes, ears, and mind of a movie-goers in search of something fresh, unusual, and entertaining as hell.
There’s more here, much more, but the movie plays out so perfectly with its visual gags, absurd events, and dryly hilarious dialogue that it really should be experienced first hand. The movie doesn’t go where you think it will, not even close, but where the hell do you think a movie about a tire that rolls after people and explodes their head would go? You have no clue, and the fact that by film’s end you’ll understand the world of the film about as much as you’re confused by it is a good thing. Much like this year’s other twist on the conventional thriller (The Sound Of Noise), Rubber an incredibly original creation from a mind unafraid to move well beyond the traditional and into the realm of batshit crazy.