Robert Chesley

Rubber – Review

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The movie Rubber, about a homicidal tire was about all I knew going into this movie. It has been recently added to Netflix streaming so I decided to take a gander at one of the strangest movies to come out in a long, long time.

“Rubber” does the standard “the show within the show” format. The movie’s main theme is “there is no reason” for anything that happens in the movie. This is shown through “the audience” that is watching the movie and if you pay attention to how things are on Internet web forums or blogs you’ll find a lot of the same kinds of arguments. It makes for a perfect platform to make a movie about essentially nothing. The movie states that it has no reason, but given that notion that may be more than enough reason to watch it. The movie starts off as nonsensical as it ends and the in between will leave the viewer in both “awe” and “WTF” sometimes both at the same time.

Nothing in the movie makes any kind of sense. We are lead to to believe from the get go that “rubber” is an actor in a movie. The filmmakers in the movie try to “kill off the audience” when that doesn’t exactly happen the movie gets really interesting and clever. It speaks more about movies in general on how we expect them to be and why we are never satisfied with them. I found myself relating to many of the “audience” members. It touches on so many themes and elements that it is hard to describe. At first, watching rubber satisfies your fantasy of what you think the film was about originally, a homicidal tire hell-bent on destroying humanity. Later, you realize how fucked up the world is and that the tire is really combating something far larger than any of us really realize. The film was kind of sold to me as a movie that is like another film , “Machete” , in that it was supposed to be gratuitous and it was supposed to have an “indie” or “lo-fi” feel to it. It succeeds on many levels that included. I felt that it broke the mold of traditional “Exploitation” films in that anything outside of the gruesome murders (the tire makes people’s heads explode) is very low key and purposely drawn back. No one in the film is playing with the entire deck revealed to them and the film definitely pays off when it goes all in late in the film.

I came away from the film with a better understanding of how our culture perceives things. Nothing has any reason or meaning, yet we pretend it does. Go to twitter and look at what people are posting about. Even as little as two or three years ago, no one in their right mind would post these kinds of statements in a public conversation, now that is practically all we get. “Rubber” will make you think about things in a totally “meta” world. When everything is just a facade of something else what is technically “real” and as the lines blur from reality to the non reality it becomes increasingly harder and harder to focus. That is the point of this movie and it is definitely far better than it’s reputation that proceeds it dictates.

You will see a tire. Yes, the film’s protagonist is a regular old car tire.
You will see destruction. Yes, the film’s protagonist destroys practically everything.
Angry movie nerds. I feel the filmmakers were holding a mirror up to our Internet society and how we perceive films, a few audience members show the “forum wars” quite well.
Interesting situations. The tire is put into some weird and sometimes awkward situations
Minimalistic. Meaning, we don’t get much exposition.

Hard to relate. On an emotional level it is very hard to relate to a tire.
Looks too much like an Indie music video. Most of the action takes place in a non-descript California desert that could be any number of music video locations that we’ve seen recently.
None of the characters are particularly well developed. You won’t get too much internalization with this movie.
Minimalistic. Meaning, we don’t get much exposition.

I would recommend this for people who like films like “Memento” or “pi”. “Rubber” satisfies your primal need to see a “killer” movie but it also makes you think on so many different levels that I feel this may be one of the best movies I had ever seen. It is available on Netflix instant. I would say if you are in the mood for something that has no reasonable explanation whatsoever, than “Rubber” is for you. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed myself whilst I watched this film. I was expecting something more exploitative, but was relieved when I found out that this had more legs than I thought.

A review copy of “Rubber” was not provided for review. It was watched on Netflix streaming with a Xbox 360. The movie is rated “R” for violence, language, and brief nudity.

Robert Chesley is a geek of all natures and can be found at or here on our own WPR forums.

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