I watched the movie Rubber last night. It’s a movie about a tire that comes to life and kills people through psychokinesis. It also is a film within a film, sort of. Did I mention it’s about a tire that comes to life and kills people?
That’s really the main plot of the movie. That and not knowing if it’s actually part of a weird experiment or actually supposed to be happening in the world. It’s very odd. It’s also very difficult to explain other than talking about the killer tire. His name is Robert, by the way.
So let me discuss the tire, Robert, for a moment. The tire is really the star of the film, and the way it rolls about, seems to look, turn, question, and ultimately learn to kill is amazing. The tire takes on a number of characteristics throughout the film. At first it’s simply an explorer, then it becomes a creepy stalker, and then, after witnessing men burning a huge mound of tires, becomes a truly malevolent force. It also likes watching NASCAR. At the end of the film, Robert is killed and reincarnated as a tricycle, and leads an army of living tires to Hollywood.
This film is strange, funny, and sometimes confusing, but in a good way. All you need to know about the film is explained in the first five minutes, when the sheriff, popping out of the truck of a car, gives a speech to the audience (a group of people there to watch…something) and explains the concept of “no reason.” He explains that every great film is built on a “no reason”, a concept that shouldn’t make sense, but we let it go. What he’s really describing, of course, is suspension of disbelief, but he does so in a different way, an inside looking out sort of way that really makes you think about why we’re so willing to just let things be. As he says, it’s because life is full of “no reason”, things that just happen because they happen, so when such things happen in a movie, we just accept it.
This also subtly sets up the whole point of the movie – you accept that the tire has come alive and is able to kill people. You simply accept it as fact, because the tire seems to move in an anthropomorphic manner, and without accepting this tire as alive and aware, the story makes no sense. And you WANT the story to make sense. Your brain will make it make sense. It’s how we’re hard wired.
As I said, the film is pretty messed up. It’s got some really funny stuff, but parts of it drag a little, and you can’t go into this expecting to understand what is going on. There are no answer because again, the theme of the film is “no reason”. There’s no reason the audience is poisoned. There’s no reason that the sheriff doesn’t die when he’s shot twice in the chest. There’s no reason why the tire can kill people, or why it falls in love with the girl.
In the end, Rubber isn’t a horror film, but rather an avant garde story…about a tire that kills people with psychic powers. Honestly I can’t explain it, just go watch it. It might give you a brain hemorrhage, but that’s o.k.