Sunday, 12 August 2012

Rubber

"Rubber" (2010, Quentin Dupieux, UFO Distribution) is a French film. In essence and appearance, the film is about Robert, a car tyre who becomes sentient and begins rolling along destroying things and people in its wake with its psychokinetic powers.

In reality, the film is a clever, but none too subtle, comment on modern film making, modern audiences and the industry as a whole.

Put it this way, everyone who's ever watched this movie, has went in to see a living, lunatic car tyre kill people. And Dupieux has successfully made every single person instead watch his comments on life and film. If that doesn't make you respect the man, nothing will!

It is based in the American desert where a group of strangers are gathered to watch the events of the film in real time. We are meant to just accept that they can see everything as clearly as we, through their binoculars. And you will accept that fact, and that's the point.

A long and dead-pan introduction from Lieutenant Chad (Stephen Spinella) pretty much summarises this film's point. He explains that every film has something happen in it for "no reason" and that life contains infinite elements of "no reason". And for that reason, audiences will accept absurd things happening for "no reason". His very arrival to the scene already proves this fact (watch it, it's weird) as does the binoculars as stated above.

I won't give too much away, but don't be put off by this film's interesting story telling technique. It's very quiet and slow paced, but is not a long movie, so the pace only feels slow. The film is intriguing and there's some good gore.

Also, Robert the tyre finds a love interest in the form of Sheila (Roxane Mesquida), an odd young French woman travelling across America in her snazzy red convertible. Although, being a psychopath, Robert instead decides to stalk her while he kills everyone else.

What I think Dupieux is saying in this film is that modern movies, and especially B-movies, try too hard to be 'out there'. The very end scene of this as we roll towards Hollywood not only sets up a possible sequel (something almost every film does these days) but also gives us the impression that Robert is taking his anger to the home of film.

The entire movie was filmed with digital camera, and all of the special effects were the good old fashioned kind; remote control, puppeteering, fake blood, explosions, clever filming techniques and editing.

I enjoyed the randomness of this film and the sheer WTF moments. This film will intrigue and confuse you and on some basic level you will 'get it'. I think what I like about "Rubber", other than all the exploding heads and random events, is that you can really take out of this film whatever you want! If you want to go away thinking it was a deep message about society accepting whatever's put in front of them, you can. If you want to go away thinking it's about a psychopathic tyre, you can! And if you want to go away thinking it was a meaningful message about men in wheelchairs having some kind of second stomach, then you can indeed do that!

A strange and entertaining film. The actors gave a convincing performance as either confused or confusing characters. The bland and sparse setting also really added to the feel of the film.

I loved the reference to 'pirating films' and also the brilliant scene with the maid finding the tyre in the shower; an excellent homage to every bathroom-centred horror ever.

Also, when Robert is learning how to roll, the bottle of water he crushes is a brand I actually recognise (I feel special because you don't often get things like that happen in movies filmed in America, when you're British).

Not an obvious comedy, this film could be seen as an arty kind of movie. But the sheer volume in which my friend and I errupted into laughter at the clever and random scenes, is a comment on how masterful this seemingly simple, very absurd and extremely deadpan film really is. So many different levels to watch, this film doesn't just knock on the fourth wall, it batters it down and jumps into your livingroom!

A film within a film within a film. Something any Grindhouse fan would enjoy, too. Totally worth £1.50 on Amazon!


[Picture: UFO Distribution]

Hani