Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Quentin Dupieux's Rubber is a clever, witty, film-school-style joke that could only have been made by someone with a very specific sense of humor. Totally self-reflexive and likely to appeal best to film majors and movie geeks, this is a uniquely French look at the most tired of genres (the serial killer thriller), while at the same time, never truly being an actual "movie" at any given point.  The filmmakers and cast are constantly reminding the viewer that what they're watching is fake and "just a movie;" Dupieux's cinematic ambition seems to be to deconstruct movies themselves and treat them as a big in-joke.  And the one thematic thread that's constant in the film -- that of "No Reason" -- serves the entire movie as a logical backing for all of the strange detours that Dupieux takes.  The "plot," such as it is, concerns a serial-killing tire named Robert who awakens from a dusty slumber and rolls around a dessert town killing random people and spying on a cute brunette in the shower.  A bunch of cops are tasked with finding the tire, and a local kid sees more than he should.  Of course, none of it is taken seriously, and all of it is simply a comment on genre conventions and viewer expectations.  There are some poetic, Malick-inspired shots of the tire rolling along at "magic-hour" and some ridiculously graphic violence when the tire decides to kill that spark things up a bit.  The camerawork is exacting and the musical score is arresting.  So...I liked the film, it's an interesting piece of filmmaking, but I doubt that many people will actually like it as a traditional piece of cinema-watching.  Rubber is probably the most uncommerical movie that I've ever seen; its release via On Demand platforms ensures that at least some people will check it out due to the curiosity factor ("Hey, it's that killer tire movie!)  But overall, it's the kind of art-film-stunt that will leave just as many people perplexed as it will satisfied.

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