Weird Flick Wednesday: Justin reviews ‘Rubber’

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Justin Kozlowski, EMC Movie Critic

Justin’s Score: 6/10

“Enjoyed it for what it was”

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 68% based on 82 reviews

Metacritic Score: 59 based on 21 critics

~Note: Full spoilers~

This is a real movie and it revolves around a tire named Robert that goes around killing people with psychokinetic powers. Pretty normal stuff but some may ask, “Why does this movie exist?” Well, the answer is, “No reason.” That’s literally what this movie tells you about five minutes in.

After we see a bunch of chairs just randomly set up in the middle of the road, we see a guy carrying around 30 binoculars. This man stands there until a car arrives and starts lightly hitting all the chairs in the middle of the road. Just a few moments later an officer comes out of the trunk of the vehicle and addresses the on-screen audience (Yes, there are just a bunch of people standing there in the movie). There are many things happen for “no reason,” and this movie is just one of them.

When the speech ends, the guy carrying the binoculars starts giving them out to the on-screen audience so that they can watch the film (the same one we are watching). And this definitely has to be one of the most unique aspects of the film. Half of this film breaks the fourth wall and we get to see the reactions of the on-screen audience as the film progresses.

Well, the next 15 minutes basically consist of a tire rolling around the old landfill, running over a water bottle and a scorpion along the way, with the occasional dialogue from the on-screen audience. But during this time, we learn that the tire has the power of psychokinesis. This is proven when it explodes a glass beer bottle by shaking and making rumbling noises. That’s what leads me to believe that although this is an obscure horror film that is darkly comedic, it is also an art film. Quentin Dupieux, the director of this film, is known as a visual director. He knows this is obscure film material, and this works to his advantage. I had no idea that a tire slowly coming up out of the sand it was half-buried in could actually look visually impressive. Dupieux is fully aware that this movie isn’t going to be a box-office success, and he isn’t trying to impress a large crowd. Funny thing though, this movie did go on to be mildly successful with critics with most reviews consisting of average or above-average ratings.

Before I knew it, I was at the 20 minute mark in the movie and the slow-pace did make it feel a bit longer. A few seconds later, the movie abruptly kicks it into high gear when the tire makes a bunny explode. This was an absolute surprise since it was completely random and well, it happened. Later on in the movie, two of the audience members get hungry and a kid brings back a piece of the bunny. One of the men told the kid, “Idiot! Can’t you see it’s fake?”

As the movie progresses, so does the exploding deaths that are comically camp in style. As the death toll around the town begins to rise, the sheriff decides to confess to the other officers that the deaths are all fake and so is everything else. The sheriff tells one of the officers to shoot him to prove it. Hesitant at first, the officer takes a shot, and the sheriff now has a bullet wound. However, the sheriff said that he didn’t feel anything and insists he is correct.

One of the officers goes over to check one of the “dead” bodies to make sure that the sheriff wasn’t lying when he said everything was fake. Turns out that body was indeed dead and this is where everyone realizes that everything is not fake. If you guys are lost right now, so was I when I was watching it. I can understand why they use half the movie breaking the fourth wall to create satire off of modern day audiences’ expectations when they go to see a movie. However, what I don’t get is why they say everything is fake. Although some things are, some of it is real-life. This just makes things confusing and it was a completely unnecessary aspect of the movie.

Soon it gets toward the end of the movie and we see the sheriff and the other officers arrive in a van to the house that the tire is residing in. The officers use a mannequin with a voice machine hooked up to it to try and lure the tire towards it. The mannequin has bombs attached to it so when the tire makes the mannequin explode, so does the tire along with it. This does not work, but the sheriff shooting it repeatedly with a gun does. In the end, the tire is rid from existence… At least that is what we are fooled to believe until we see that the tire has been reincarnated as a tricycle.

This movie would most likely be a waste of 86 minutes to the average viewer. Personally, I found it to be thoroughly entertaining, although it had a dreadfully slow pace at times and the few jokes that were present came off as awkward. It reminded me of Nobuhiko Obayashi’s movie House from 1977. In the end, I enjoyed it for what it was, and that is a stupid and useless movie with obscure source material and an unconventional plot. But this definitely isn’t the movie I would recommend anyone to go out of their way to see.

Weirdest Part of the Movie: When the camera showed a lady at the diner pouring orange juice onto the rest of what she had on her plate.