Blu-Review: Rubber

Directed By Quentin Dupieux
Starring Stephen Spinella, Jack Plotnick, Wings Hauser and Roxane Mesquida



As the film begins with a car slowly driving down a desert path, knocking over a collection of ornate chairs carefully arranged along the road as it goes, before pulling to a stop as one of the characters nonchalantly climbs out of the trunk to address the audience with a list of beloved, respected movies containing plot elements that exist for no reason, it becomes clear that Rubber isn’t your ordinary movie. And that’s before you remind yourself that it’s a movie about a killer tyre.

The film follows Robert, a tyre who spontaneously springs to life in the desert, soon discovering the ability to explode things with his mind. The tyre hits the road, blowing up wildlife and any people who irk him along the way. As the headless body count starts to rise, a sheriff (Stephen Spinella) and his band of slow-witted deputies gear up to take the tyre down.
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The fourth wall-breaking opening initially seems like just a fun nod to the audience that writer/director Quentin Dupieux knows just how silly his movie is and hopes you’ll embrace it, doubling as a ‘Get Out Of Jail Free’ card to shirk any obligation to explain anything in the hour and a half of insanity that’s due to follow. Fantastically, though, the self-referential meta-humour of the introduction doesn’t stop there as the film introduces its own audience – a diverse group of spectators hanging out in the desert watching the events of the movie unfold from the outskirts, questioning, commenting on and mocking the story as it goes.

Robert’s story is an gleefully daft and appropriately gory one, but Dupieux imbues the plucky little tyre with a surprising amount of character and personality. As he climbs out of the sand and learns to walk (or roll), exploring the world with childlike inquisitiveness and a jovial bounce in his step when he finally gets the hang of rolling, it all unfolds like a nature documentary missing only the David Attenborough narration, or a Pixar movie without the animation. It’s also pretty damn hilarious, especially as he develops a crush on a French brunette and a fondness for watching Nascar.
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But while Dupieux soon seems to be running out of ideas for what to do with a story about a killer tyre, thankfully that’s not all he has up his sleeve as the spectators soon develop their own meaty sub-plot, which grows even more surreal and amazingly funny as it goes until the two threads inevitably converge. It’s film spoofery at its most inventive and ridiculously insane, and Rubber piles layer upon layer of humour, from the bizarre plot to Stephen Spinella’s deliciously deadpan performance, the sharp, surreal meta-jokes, some absolutely perfect subtle sight gags and some great dialogue exchanges. You might expect a killer tyre movie to rely on the daft premise for all its gags, but it’s a great surprise that Rubber isn’t that lazy, and proves hilarious for so many reasons beyond the loopy story.

The killer tyre aspect of the plot might be short on ideas (and the film resorts to a few too many rolling tyre montages), but past the gleefully silly ‘get ‘em in the door’ B-movie premise lurks the most deceptively clever, deliriously weird and amazingly funny movie satire in years.
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Aside from the requisite fantastic high-definition transfer, unfortunately Optimum Home Entertainment is a little light on extras. There is, however, a selection of short, but fun solo interviews with the cast and Dupieux (who’s interviewed by an inflatable sex doll and speaks in reverse), a short test footage scene of Robert’s movement and a trailer.

The special effects work that sees Robert rolling around by himself conjures up that rare “How did they do that?” feeling, and while Dupieux does touch on it a little in his interview, it’s a shame there’s no real behind-the scenes features to peek behind the curtain.

The Film:

The Blu-ray:




Rubber is out on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK from today.
Click here to order the Blu-ray from Amazon.co.uk.

(Note: The images above were captured and saved at a reduced quality, and though they give an idea of how the film looks, they aren’t intended to reflect the true quality of the Blu-ray image itself.)