“Rubber” is the story of a tire that goes on a homicidal rampage, blowing up everything from beer bottles to people’s heads, with his mind. But it also gleefully mocks movie audience, critics and particularly Hollywood.
In many ways, the film is an homage to Steven Spielberg, with the structure of his classic “Duel,” and a biting commentary on the kinds of films he would go on to make as part of the studio machine he helped engorge.
The film opens with a man standing in the dessert, a fistful of binoculars in each hand. We soon see a car drive up the road, ding a slow deliberate slalom as it knocks over a dozen or so chairs. A sheriff then emerges from the trunk, a glass of water in hand and launches into a fourth-wall breaking monologue on how films are mostly filled with “It doesn’t matter”
“Why is the alien in ET brown? Doesn’t matter. Who do the characters in 'Love Story' fall in love? Doesn’t matter.” The questions get progressively more bizarre and ridiculous, heading you off at the pass before you might ask, Why would a tire blow up a beer bottle? And with that he dumps out his glass of water (Why?...), hops back in the trunk and rides off.
So, yeah, a nameless, brandless tire awakens one day, stands up on its tread and starts to roll across the desert landscape. Upon encountering resistance for the first time, it begins to quake and emit an increasingly high-pitched whine until its prey explodes.
Interwoven throughout the action are scenes of a group of spectators watching from a distance through binoculars and commenting on the what’s happening. It’s a classic movie audience menagerie: father-and-son, whiny gumsnappers, chattering fanboys, a hardcore, holier than thou cineaste... who offer a constant dissection of the action as it unfolds, before ultimately--inevitably--stepping in to complain about just how stupid things have gotten. We've all wanted to do it at one time or another.
"Rubber" is a fantastically original, bizarre and funny film that defies simple description, working as a Corman-esque schlock thriller, experimental film, and social critique. And like any proper dis of Hollywood, the ending is teed up perfectly for a sequel. We'll call "Two Tired!" Or maybe, "Son of Tire!"
Although "Rubber" is only getting a limited theatrical release, HDNet has been showing the movie since March 30th, so check your cable guide.