Rubber, Blu-ray (2011)
Director: Quentin Dupieux
Starring: Robert, Stephen Spinella, Jack Plotnick
Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment/Magnet 10369 [6/14/11]
Video: 1.78:1 for 16×9 1080p HD color
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH,, Spanish
Extras: Interviews with Quentin Dupieux, Stephen Spinella, Jack Plotnick, Rozane Mesquida; Ruuber teaser camera tests; HDNet: A Look at Rubber; Theatrical trailer
Length: 83 minutes
Rating: either * or ***** (depends on viewer)
This is properly the most insane film I have ever seen. Although some of it is stupid, gory, and absolutely nonsensical, I cannot help but be supportive of the wildly original French filmmaker Dupieux who has a lot of gall and chutzpah, but on another level is practically a genius. If you watch his interview in the extras first, you will get an idea of how his mind works by seeing that he is interviewed by a blow-up male doll. He also becomes his own clapper for sync. Among other things he says he shot on hi-def video because “35mm is dead.” The actors comment on how relaxed and unhyper Dupieux was directing the film. No wonder – he did it on a shoestring, used abandoned stuff and a run-down motel in the desert as his sets, and had complete artistic control over his non-problematic main actor – Robert the tire. (Actually, I hadn’t noticed that was its name until I looked at the box after watching the film.)
Robert is an abandoned tire half-buried in the desert which inexplicably (like everything else in the movie) comes to life. Roaming the desert he discovers he has special psychic powers which give him the ability to destroy anything that is in his way or he doesn’t like. He starts out exploding discarded bottles, moves on to scorpions and rabbits, but eventually starts blowing up human heads. He becomes fascinated by a young woman who stops at the motel. There is also an unfortunate audience group of people who watch Robert’s rampage thru binoculars, as well as several sheriff’s deputies who investigate the murder of a maid in the motel. Robert is certainly a completely unique movie villain, and from the film’s conclusion it looks like there will be a sequel because he has Hollywood in his sights.
The opening monologue of the film may be the best thing in it. Lt. Chad (Spinella) gets out of the trunk of a car to approach the camera and explain the point of things having “no reason,” and how this film’s storyline illustrates exactly that. The wild swings between deadpan humor, horror, surrealism and God knows what are way beyond the typical horror-comedy that seems to have become such a familiar type lately. (What IS this thing about zombies, anyway?) Those strike me as a total waste of time, but Dupieux has some semblance of intelligence built into his total insanity. I loved the scene where the Lt. is trying to explain to his lawmen that what is happening is not real life. When one objects, Chad tells him “Look at you. You have a stuffed toy alligator under your arm.” When you think about it, there’s a number of very popular movies out there nowadays based on just as dumb a premise as a killer tire.
— John Sunier