Forgotten Films: Rubber (2010)
This is the 87th in my series of Forgotten Obscure or Neglected Films
I was visiting Neal Barrett, Jr a few weeks ago and he asked me if I had seen the film RUBBER. I said not only No but that I had never heard of it. He gave me a brief description about a weird film involving a homicidal tire and I knew I had to see it. About a week later, I was perusing the TV’s listing of forthcoming films and found a listing for it. So I fired up the DVR.
It had been sitting there for about a month so I decided to watch it this weekend. It is a very odd film that in some ways seems disjointed but in others not so much. The film open with a man (Jack Plotnick) holding a bunch of binoculars out in a field. Around him are a disparate group of people. In the middle of the dirt road there are a bunch of empty chairs. A long car turns onto the road and proceeds to run a slalom course and hit every one of those chairs. Then the trunk pops open and a man in a Sheriff’s outfit (Stephen Spinella) climbs out of the trunk and addresses the people. He asks many questions such as “why is ET brown?” The answer is “No Reason”. All his questions can be answered No Reason. He finished with the thought “All great films without exception contain an important element of No Reason.” He then climbs back into the trunk of the car and the man with the binoculars passes them out to the people who are told that they will be watching a film.
They watch as a tire casing (no rim or inner tube) attains sentience and manages to roll and stay upright. In the credits, the tire is named Robert. It rolls down a road and begins to develop personality. It crushes an empty plastic bottle to see what it feels like. Later a glass beer bottle poses a harder challenge but this tire is not to be deterred and eventually it feels the Tread of Fear. Having established its dominance over inanimate objects, it soon begins to target the living. A rabbit is its first victim. The tire sees is by the side of the road. It focuses its immense mental energy on it and the rabbit explodes. Soon a crow follows the same path. The tire is triumphant!
Now he stalks the world. Traveling down a small road he finds a woman (Sheila played by Roxanne Mesquida) cruising in her convertible, listening to the radio. By force of will, he is able to shut down the car and cause her to coast to the side of the road. As he nears her, he is hit by an aggressive driver in a pickup who knocks him off the road. This causes a lapse in his mental concentration and the woman is able to start up her car and leave. The tire goes on down the road where he finds the pickup driver (Michael Ross). He soon dies a terrible death at the mind of the destructive tire when his head explodes.
The tire follows Sheila to a motel where he enters her room as she takes a shower. She locks him out and he takes another room next door where he watches TV shows with many motions – an aerobics show, an auto race, and an animal show. The next day the maid throws him out but he re-enters and kills her.
Many people die during this film including the observers with the binoculars. There is a very odd sub-plot going on about reality and picture making which results in Lieutenant Chad (The odd guy in the trunk of the car, trying to show his fellow officers that reality is subjective by having them shoot him with no results.
There is more death and destruction. People explode, tires are burned, a turkey is mutilated and life keeps rolling on. There is a deadly standoff with the tire where the police and Sheila try to trick it with a mannequin and some dynamite but that fails. Eventually is eventually shot. But it is reincarnated as a tricycle with even larger powers and bigger designs of conquest.
This was a very odd film. I believe that I enjoyed it overall. I might not have wanted to pay full price at the theater but on my DVR the price was just fine. It is inventive and odd and playful and just plain weird. It was written and directed by Quentin Dupieux, but IMDB contains little information on him. You might check it out on Showtime or Netflix. I am glad I saw it, but your mileage may vary.
Series organizer Todd Mason hosts more Tuesday Forgotten Film reviews at his own blog and posts a complete list of participating blogs.