When I read the synopsis for Rubber – an experimental film about a psychokinetic, automobile tire that goes on a killing spree in the desert – I thought it sounded like an awesome idea for a short film. Then I read that it was, in fact, a full feature length film (85 minutes, to be exact) and my curiosity was piqued even further.
The premise is pretty high concept, I wondered how director Quentin Dupieux would pull off a story with so much potential to end up being one-note. The short answer is that he made an engaging, funny, acerbic and captivating story about a murderous tire – and he did it so brilliantly.
By predicating the film on the conceit that many things happen in life for no reason, the story about a tire which comes to life and possesses psychic powers (and a penchant for destruction! And blood lust! And vengeful rage!) can exist without any need for an explanation. It simply is what it is and as a spectator we are able to accept this and let the story tell itself without fighting the implausibility of it.
Rubber is gorgeously shot – the desert location photographs beautifully and provides a stark (yet somehow rich – in spite of being spare) textural backdrop to prop up an atmosphere of Surrealism. Juxtaposing stunning cinematography, compelling visuals and amazing sound design with the comedic sight gag of exploding, bloody heads works to hold the viewer’s interest – fully committing to it’s own absurdity.
Rubber is self-aware about it’s own ridiculousness, which is precisely why it works so well. For those who still aren’t getting the full effect, check out the teaser trailer below.