If there has ever been a movie made for “no reason” it would be Quentin Dupieux’s Rubber. Simply put, the movie is about a tire (like the ones on your car) named Robert that goes on a murderous rampage after discovering he has telekinetic powers. From afar, an audience watches the bloodbath unfold through binoculars. This is the movie’s entire synopsis.
It’s hard to rave about a film that takes its time like Rubber does but there are some interesting things going on. Robert has an infatuation with a girl he sees drive by in a Jeep, whom he cannot seem to go through with killing her. Instead Robert follows her to a small town where the havoc begins. Scenes unfold awkwardly with very little sense of motive until they finally end. Most of the events that take place, the audience will try to associate directly with the plot (of what little plot there is) or by the movie’s excessive representation of things happening for “no reason”. Once the audience gets past this theme, which will occur over and over and over again, Rubber feels dry. If only Quentin Dupieux could add dialog like Quentin Tarantino, Rubber would be worth multiple viewings.
The police are no match for Robert
Some of the highlights of Rubber include scenes with Stephen Spinella (Milk, 24) who plays a Lieutenant in charge of the murder investigations in the small town. Spinella pretends to break the 4th wall in several instances, but he’s really just talking to the California audience. Spinella brings comic relief to the monotonous screenplay but he doesn’t appear enough to carry the load. What works and what drives me to be so interested in watching Rubber again is the questions left unanswered. If I listed them, they would ruin the movie, but they are so bizarre, so intentionally out there, even behind all the subtle jerks of “no reason” symbolism, I cannot wonder if Quentin wrote those scenes for a reason.
At 85 minutes, Rubber should definitely be experienced at least once. If not to see a tire implode people’s heads but to see how Dupieux creates a parody out of his own movie, feeding the audience exactly what they want but leaving little satisfaction in the end. Did you see what I did there?