A tire lays abandoned in the desolate desert. Surrounded by an array of other discarded items it is out of place in the natural world. Without warning, the rubber tire begins to move, the sand around it unsettling. The tire stands upright, without any known assistance, and falls again. Like a baby animal taking its first steps it motions upwards again, rolls a few feet, and drops back down into the desert sand. This is “Robert”, an inanimate object that has without reason found life. The camera follows Robert closely, watching as he learns about its new environment. What happens if I roll over a plastic water bottle? Can I defeat the glass beer bottle in front of me? That rabbit there, is it a threat? Is the crow a friend or foe? Robert is learning as he rolls along, and before long, and possibly out of boredom as the desert holds no great mysteries, he turns his sights on human beings. Again, for no apparent reason, he takes on the human – his weapon is the rhythmic shaking of himself, producing a high pitched treble that results in the explosion of a human’s head. Yes, this tire is killing people, for no apparent reason.
On the other side of the desert, within binocular range of Robert, a group of people are watching him. The “show” he is putting on excites them. The reason for them to be watching the spectacle that is Robert is unknown to the viewer. The fate that awaits them again has no reasoning behind it. The story that unfolds around Robert with the local police officials – no clear reason. How Robert suddenly finds the voyeuristic nature of man when he comes in contact with an attractive female – no reason. Why Robert kills his victims: no reason. How this tire got the name Robert in the first place – no reason (except that is what the filmmaker calls him).
The pattern and main theme surrounding the film Rubber is an homage to the no reason. As the introduction states, “Life itself is filled with no reason”. There is no reasoning behind why a rubber tire would suddenly gain consciousness; nor does there have to be. Such is the draw to the film Rubber: to try and make sense of it only plays into the idea of life being full of things beyond reasoning. Sometimes you just have to commit to the fact that there is no explanation. There is no actual reason for an event or an action. It just happens. Just as a group of people watching a rubber tire go on a desert killing spree just happens. Or why a screening of a film about a tire killing people in the desert would have a near sold-out crowd on a Friday evening at a film festival – no reason (almost).
Rubber is a film destined for midnight movie cult status as well as RiffTrax, and that is in itself a compliment to the creativity behind a film that clearly appears to have been made for no reason at all.
The FilmFracture Breakdown…
Production: 2 clocks
Uniqueness: 4 clocks
RUBBER World Cinema Section (France, 2010, 85 mins, 35mm) Independent Cinema, Horror/Thriller, Comedy, AFI/DWW Filmmaker Directed By: Quentin Dupieux Screenwriter: Quentin Dupieux Producers: Julien Berlan, Gregory Bernard Cinematographer: Quentin Dupieux Editor: Quentin Dupieux Music: Mr. Oizo, Gaspard Auge Production Design: Pascale Ingrand Cast: Stephen Spinella, Roxane Mesquida, Jack Plotnick, Winga Hauser, Ethan Cohn, Thomas F Duffy, Cecelia Antoinette, Gaspard Auge, David Bowe, Devin Brochu
Synopsis: Rubber is the story of Robert, an inanimate tire that has been abandoned in the desert, and suddenly and inexplicably comes to life. As Robert roams the bleak landscape, he discovers that he possesses terrifying telepathic powers that give him the ability to destroy anything he wishes without having to move. At first content to prey on small desert creatures and various discarded objects, his attention soon turns to humans, especially a beautiful and mysterious woman who crosses his path. Leaving a swath of destruction across the desert landscape, Robert becomes a chaotic force to be reckoned with, and truly a movie villain for the ages.
This film was screened at AFI FEST 2010 presented by AUDI. For more information about the festival please refer to its website here