Rubber Movie Review
on the rubbish-strewn California desert, a tyre wakes up and starts rolling, gradually finding its balance as well as psychokinetic powers of destruction.
He sleeps at night, drinks water, stalks a scorpion and then a rabbit. Giddy with success, he takes aim at human prey. And when he sees a young woman (Mesquida) showering in an isolated motel, he even falls in love. Eventually, a cop (Spinella) arrives to investigate the deaths. Over the next few days, as the murderous rampage escalates, he struggles to find inventive ways to stop this killer tyre.
This story is framed with a crowd of movie fans in the desert watching the action through binoculars, constantly offering clueless comments while looking for something to eat (road-kill pizza, anyone?). Meanwhile, writer-director Dulieux (aka music producer Mr Oizo) shoots this like a Lynchian version of The Red Balloon, anthropomorphising the tyre with a range of emotions and a droll song score. And the tyre's murderous shaking-until-something-explodes method comes from David Cronenberg's 1981 classic Scanners.
Less a surreal thriller than a knowing pastiche of both filmmaking and moviegoing, the movie constantly plays with ideas of staged authenticity. "Stop acting like this is real life," says the cop, arguing that nothing is real once the audience has passed out from food poisoning. But when they discover that one rebellious viewer (Hauser) is still conscious, they have to carry on with the increasingly implausible events. And the cast is especially good at playing with these bizarre layers of meaning.
This certainly isn't a film for anyone looking for real horror: the grisliness is played for laughs, and the postmodern approach is cerebrally aimed at cinephiles. But for a wryly ridiculous exploration of the absurdity of existence, both in real life and on the big screen, this is dryly hilarious fun. As the audience minder (Plotnick) says to the one viewer who won't play the game, "Wait all you want, there's no end!" But there is one, and it's pure genius.