Directed by Quentin Dupieux
They see him rolling, they hating, but why has “Rubber” come upon such a narrow-minded crowd? The 2010 crime-comedy revolves around a tire, retired and abandoned in a desert, that finds the psychokinetic ability to explode (again, with his mind) small animals and the heads of humans. Police arrive on the scene of a small motel, where a maid was killed, but no one suspects the tire lying right in front of them. It’s the perfect disguise! “Rubber” gives this story a crowd, an audience within the movie, and arms them with binoculars in order for them to see everything that goes on. They talk amongst themselves about the happenings (and indirectly, about the movie) in a Greek chorus sort of way. Sometimes, they interact with the police (who openly acknowledge the fact that they’re in an absurd movie). It’s an ingenious way to spice up this freshly original story. And as far as originality, it really is a top-tire story.
I’ll admit, I was pumped to see “Rubber.” Such a novelty just can’t be skipped. It took a few minutes to get rolling, but eventually (when the killing and police work began) it found its rhythm. Stephen Spinella, playing the sheriff and head of this small town investigative crew, does a phenomenal job as a substitute for Christoph Waltz. More than looks, Spinella’s speech and mannerisms all remind me of the Austrianstar of movies like “Water for Elephants” and “Carnage.” And with a fantastic script written by director Quentin Dupieux, he’s very comical. In fact, most of the actual dialogue that occurs in the film does reach a respectable level of humor. Maybe it’s just the absurdity of it, but it’s funny. After a while, it gets a bit tireing, but the end picks it right back up. And clocking in 82 minutes, it won’t waste too much of your day if you decide afterward that you regret your decision.
The movie starts with a sermon from Spinella (in full uniform, but only half in-character) about the absurdity of movies in general. Why was the alien in “E.T.” brown? In “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” why don’t the characters ever go to the bathroom? No reason. So why does a tire decide to kill people? And why does it have that ability? No reason. It’s a shaky defense, I’ll give you that, but at least “Rubber” knows how flimsy it is. It’s a bunch of rubber rubbish. It just doesn’t care. It might just be the most absurd movie I’ve ever seen, but it’s funny. Believe it or not.