Monday 9 May 2011

Today's Review: Rubber

Rubber is a movie about a serial killer. A serial killer that is also a tyre. If that isn't enough reason to watch it, then maybe you should stick to boring unoriginal stuff. But if you actually go and watch the movie, you'll find out there's a lot more to it.

We begin with a desert scene, a dirt road with many chairs placed along it. A car drives towards the camera, knocking down every one, until it stops in the foreground, a man gets out of the boot and starts to deliver a speech about everything in both movies and real life containing an element of no reason. This does a nice job of setting up what we're going to see throughout, and immediately answers the question that most people will be thinking. "Why is this movie about a tyre that kills people?" No reason.

The tyre in question is called Robert, apparently. One day he rises out of the desert sand and begins to roll of his own volition. Before long though, he comes across a couple of bottles lying on the ground and decides to destroy them. Apparently he finds this fun, because before long he's using his latent psychic powers to explode the heads of animals and people. Why? No reason. 

But before we're introduced to Robert, we see an audience. A group of people in the desert who are given binoculars in order to watch the "film" that is happening in front of them. This is where the other half of Rubber focuses its efforts. The audience within the film are there to offer up the critiques that we would be thinking of in real life, and the entire feature contains references to how audiences perceive the content of movies. Whenever we see a scene with Robert claiming his next victim, there's a cut back to the audience talking amongst themselves about what they've just seen. Some of them are disgusted, some are intrigued, it really seems like a fair representation of the movie viewing public. As the movie progresses we see the audience's participation get less and then more important, and there's a wonderful scene in which one member takes matters into his own hands and starts questioning why the characters aren't doing something more effective in taking down the rubber menace. 

Rubber is shot beautifully, the music choices are fantastic, and the sound effects of Robert himself are absolutely perfect, whether he's rolling down the road or performing his telekinetic head explosion feat. I have no idea what a tyre using psychic powers sounds like, but I imagine it would sound exactly as it does in this movie. Many have called Rubber pretentious, saying it's bathing in its own classification as a celebration of no reason. Other people are just turned off by the fact that there's a killer tyre in it, but they should just shut up and actually watch it. Yes, it's not the greatest movie ever, but it certainly is original, and the ways it tries to commentate on audience relationships with movies is something I've never seen before. Nothing is ever explained in a solid way, and there's plenty of ambiguity for its message to be seen in different ways. It's worth watching Rubber just to join in the discussion about what it means and if its relevant, and if you can't be bothered with all that you should just watch it anyway, because it's a movie about a tyre that blows up people's heads.

My rating: 4/5

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