By Brett Mullins
Written and Directed by Quentin Dupieux
Rubber has a premise that is simple sounding and nearly irresistible: a tire inexplicably comes to life and roams the desert blowing objects to bits. A film of this description has the capacity to either be a cheesy B-movie, an intelligent satire or a complete mess.
The film begins with a character breaking the fourth wall and delivering a monologue to the audience. He explains that this film pays homage to the cinematic concept of ‘no reason’, which sheds light on why a film would be made about a tire supposedly named Robert. This film is self aware to the point where there are characters in the film that represent the audience. They do not directly affect the story and are a simulation for what the filmmaker perceived the audience would be thinking at a given moment.
Though this film is quite well made, it is difficult to shake the feeling that it is wasting the audience’s time. Besides revealing that there is no point to the story within the opening scene, the film clobbers the audience over the head again and again with how smart it is (or appears to be). The film builds itself on simulating the audience’s thoughts during a story that is ambiguous and interesting, yet, all the while, reminding the audience that the events in the film are not actually occurring. Some may find this to be a nice slice of existentialist thought; however, I found it to be convoluted and boring.
The film did an excellent job at accurately presenting the thoughts of the audience, and it certainly provided a few good laughs. No matter how interesting a film is, however, there is no excusing being boring, especially this boring. If it were not for hope that the film would suddenly provide something meaningful, perhaps as an ironic twist, then it would have been turned off long before the conclusion.