I tend to watch a lot of off-beat and non-mainstream movies. When you do this, you'll come across as much garbage as there was in the trash compactor scene in the original STAR WARS. However, every once in a while you'll uncover a gem. Sometimes, you'll uncover a really unusual movie that's really not all that great, but is so unusual that the very oddity and absurdity of it makes it stand out and worth watching through. RUBBER is one of those movies.
RUBBER is a movie about a killer tire. The film opens with a man (Jack Plotnick) standing out in the middle of the desert covered in binoculars. Then a car comes driving up a dirt road destroying a bunch of wooden chairs that have been set up as though they were orange safety cones. The car stops and a man in a police uniform (Stephen Spinella) gets out and begins talking into the camera. He gives a long monologue about in every great movie there is an element of something happening for "no reason" and that's what this movie is all about. He then dumps out the beverage in his hand and jumps back into the car and is driven off. Then the man with the binoculars begins passing out binoculars to a group of spectators standing behind roped off pillars. The people take their binoculars and turn around and begin watching the movie. Throughout the rest of the film RUBBER moves back and forth between the action of Robert the Tire and the audience. Towards the end of the movie, the audience actually becomes a part of the movie.
So, with the absurdist theatre element in place, the main "action" follows the deeds of Robert the Tire. It's never explained in the movie how or why (and Robert isn't even given a name, except in the special features and in promotional materials) Robert comes to be. He just rises out of the dirt and is. It takes him some time to get adjusted to just standing up and then rolling around of his own accord. But soon he's off and rolling. Then he comes across a plastic bottle in his way and he flattens it. Next a scorpion in his way meets the same fate. However, the next object is a glass bottle and Robert can't flatten that. This seems to upset him so tries to destroy it with his mind and succeeds in making it explode. So, now Robert is a living tire who has a type of pyrokinesis, he can't make things explode with his mind. Robert quickly moves from exploding bottles to exploding living things.
In some ways RUBBER is a critique at the way Hollywood and the studios usually make movies. It's an insane process that doesn't make any sense to most people and often even confounds those in the movie business. I know there are countless times I've left a film thinking, "How did they get to make that?!" RUBBER pokes fun of that and the way that most people are just there to watch a good show. Yet, that passivity can make us animals. But, don't read too much into that. RUBBER is, after all, a movie about a killer tire.
*** out of **** "Rubber" begins with a car driving through a California desert, obnoxiously knocking over and breaking chairs that are in its way while a skinny man with glasses and a briefcase watches. Out from the trunk of the car emerges a police officer (Stephen Spinella) who proceeds to list movies (such as "E.T" and "The Pianist") that supposedly contain elements of "no reason". The lieutenant then tells us that the film we are about to see is a homage to elements of … more