The Netflix Queue: Rubber (2010)
Sometimes, the Foreign section of Netflix introduces you to genuinely beautiful, well-made, well-scripted and well-acted movies you may have otherwise missed out on.
And sometimes it brings you Rubber.
A 2010 French film (though entirely in English and set in the United States), Rubber is the story of a tire named Robert who becomes sentient and soon after, discovers his telepathic abilities and penchant for murder. No, really, that’s what the movie is about. As Robert (credited to Goodyear on the film’s IMDb page, naturally) wreaks havoc on a desert town, an audience assembles to watch through binoculars and give voice to the viewer’s questions. It’s through this in-film audience that it’s quickly made clear that this film knows how absurd it is. Lieutenant Chad (Stephen Spinella) tells the in-film audience in his opening audience everything you need to know about Rubber: “In the Steven Spielberg movie E.T. why is the alien brown? No reason.” This goes on with other film examples, but the point is clear: the events of Rubber are happening for no reason. Stop asking questions. The in-film audience learns how serious Lt. Chad is about this later in the film in a plot twist that, like everything else, happens for no reason.
Rubber undoubtedly knows it’s awful. But, it’s awful on the level that Cabin In The Woods was awful, where it knows exactly how to be awful, and it plays with tropes. I can’t say Rubber really turns a genre on its head like Cabin did because I’m not sure Rubber actually has a genre.
Rubber isn’t a bad film because of its lack of development or purpose. Rubber is a bad film because that’s what it set out to be, and director Quentin Dupieux just wants you to watch and have fun and not overanalyze everything you see. I mean, it’s great to watch well-executed movies that have something to say. But sometimes you just want to watch a tire have an existential crisis, and when that urge next strikes, surrendering 82 minutes of your life to watching Rubber is absolutely worth it.
A Gallery of Images from Rubber