Tuesday, May 22, 2012

REVIEW - Rubber (2010)

France/Angola - 2010
Directed by - Quentin Dupieux
Starring - Stephen Spinella, Jack Plotnick, Wings Hauser, Roxane Mesquida
Color / 82 Min / Rated R

Rubber’s denouement sees the main character, a sentient killer tire, leading an army of killer tires towards the world-famous Hollywood sign. Ha ha! Get it?! GET IT???



Yeah, I hate this movie.

On paper, Rubber sounds like a great choice for a schlocky B-movie night. The plot sees the aforementioned tire come to life and embark on a Michael Myers-esque killing spree through a desert backwater over a three day period. That in itself should be more than enough to sustain genre fans, but director Quentin Dupieux is hellbent on using a silly horror movie setup as a forum to spout off how much he dislikes modern filmmaking, major movie studios, and yep, even YOU, the viewer of this movie. Don’t you realize how stupid you are for wanting to watch a movie like this? Geez!

Dupieux carries out his diatribe through a series of not-so-subtle ‘movie within a movie’ scenes, where onlookers watch the killer tire from afar and make snarky and ironic meta comments about the proceedings. These scenes have all the tact of a blunt hammer to the skull. It’d be one thing if Dupieux’s goal was to be part of the anti-intellectualism movement, but I’m under the impression the director envisions himself as the exact opposite. He’s letting everyone know, in no uncertain terms, that he is the next David Lynch, Ingmar Bergman, and Terry Gilliam all rolled into one. And he’s brushing flecks of beard dandruff off his Bohemian scarf while offering you a Turkish cigarette as he tells you this.

Get used to this shot. The director uses it every six seconds or so.
Sure, somewhere in this mess is an actual story about the killer tire stalking a sexy young lady and splattering poor sods with Scanners mind bullets, but it’s quite boring. For a movie billing itself as a comedy-horror, the tension is practically nonexistent and the laughs at the campy moments are few and far between. While I will offer some credit to the filmmakers for not resorting to CGI effects in capturing the tire rolling along of its own volition, if you edited all the bouncing tire shots together you’d easily have a half hour infomercial for Goodyear ready to play at 4 AM. Or a really fucked up version of The Red Balloon. Take your pick.

The sheriff character (Spinella), once he steps from the meta-movie into the actual film itself, is the closest thing to a redeeming quality in Rubber, but he doesn’t have nearly enough screen presence to save it. This movie desperately needed an over the hill redneck with a massive beer gut playing the sheriff. Somebody who could ham it up opposite an inanimate tire as a co-star yet bring a much needed gravitas to the piece to counterbalance all the bullshit hipster pseudo-intellectualism.

In other words, this movie needed Joe Don Baker.

0.5 / 5