Rubber wont be to everyone’s taste. Words like ‘weird’ and ‘stupid’ will be used against it. Understandable really, considering it is a film about a psychic killer tire, but not an assessment I would necessary agree with. Weird without a doubt – although absurd is better – but definitely not stupid. It’s just that you have to look a little deeper.
This isn’t really a horror film as such, it’s more of a black comedy. Sure there are no belly laughs, and there is definitely violence, death and gore, but it is the absurdness of it all that is more noticeable.
The basic plot is not extraordinary, in fact – if the central protagonist was a human instead of a tire it could be a fairly standard slasher/loner psycho film. The fact that it is a tire is one of the things that raises it above the ordinary. There is something else that helps it too, but I’ll come to that later.
The name of the tire is Robert – a name that is only on screen in the end credits – and he is a confused and angry individual, pushed into a world he does not understand. This truth actually comes across surprisingly well. Robert – who does not talk or make any sound, and has not a face – is the deepest character in the film. You can actually feel the emotion coming off him, although you probably wont sympathize with him too much.
The other characters, whilst not flat, are not quite as rounded (no pun intended, but I like it). This is not really surprising as it is Roberts ‘birth’ in the dessert, through his wild killing spree, to the, inevitable, final confrontation that drives the film, leaving little place for character development.
This film is, however, deeper than just a confused outsider trying to find his place in the world. This is just the central reality in the movie.
Just outside of Robert’s reality is another one where spectators watch. This film has it’s own built in audience, which some of the characters in the internal film are aware of. This adds another layer of absurdness to it all, resulting in some truly surreal moments. For instance the opening scene – which is quite beautiful in it’s surrealism – that includes a monologue about the amount of ‘no reason’ in films and real life. It’s this ‘no reason’ that drives the film along.
As well as all this the film looks gorgeous. The California dessert setting is used well, and gives the proceedings another worldliness. Some of the cinematography is stunning. The special effects – all of which are analogue, no digital – are quite impressive as well. The acting is of a high standard and played straight. The music is also good and doesn’t overpower the images. Plus it has a plot that goes somewhere.
Some people will still claim it’s weird rubbish. I, on the other hand, think it is a brilliant film.
If you only see one ‘psychic killer tire’ film this year make it this one.