Fantastic Fest Review: ‘Rubber’

Tuesday, September 28 by

Rubber became a Cannes phenomenon based on its outrageous premise. That alone carried it throug Fantastic Fest where its first screening sold out, and I finally made it into the second, which also sold out.

All you need to know is that it is about a tire that kills people. That is enough to get you to see Rubber. That’s certainly all I needed to hear. I would watch a trilogy about killer tires.

More after the jump…

It’s actually so much more and I don’t think that’s getting out. So I’m not going to ruin it, but I’m going to describe it. This is a French New Wave film about the phenomenon of visual entertainment.

Rubber opens with Officer Chad (Stephen Spinella) addressing the audience about movies. It’s hilariously self-referential and perceptive, and then it has fun with it, and with us. His speech is still true, even when his examples are purposefully wrong. Other characters are involved in creating this weird world of observing and creating, but describing the specifics is both a spoiler and unnecessary.

Be prepared for obscure dry humor that challenges the reality we accept in film. Rubber has its own rules, but they’re not the natural laws that govern reality or most reality-based movies. It questions our role in watching movies and still delivers a great viewing experience.

The tire moves with character and emotion. Having a practical tire goes a long way, whether they controlled it remotely or stop motion animated it or just had some dude shaking it off camera. Even killer tires watch girls shower, so the killer tire movie really delivers on genre, then goes above and beyond.

I love movies that just try to be awesome even if it makes no sense. Awesome beats sense every time. The plausibility of a killer tire is only the beginning of Rubber’s awesome nonsense. You can feel the satisfaction behind the scenes as writer/director/editor Quentin Dupieux invents a new film language.

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