The Film (3/5)
Rubber is a very interesting film, it bridges the worlds of the Roger Corman B-Movie with that of a more avant-garde experimental feature film. This was a film that did not appear on my radar until seeing the trailer a few weeks ago, but that was enough to get me to want to see it. Unfortunately, like many B-movies the trailer is much more entertaining than the actual film itself.
Rubber tells the story of Robert a lone tire who one day attains consciousness in the middle of a desert. As one might assume, he begins rolling off trying to find, well who knows, but he soon finds his path is blocked by little things like scorpions and beer bottles. This does not make the sentient tire happy, and he telepathically destroys them. He then rolls off, and finds a highway, and begins wreaking havoc on anything and anyone that ends up in his path.
That is pretty much everything you need to know about the story of Rubber. The story seems to be a simple construct to hang bizarre situations on to. The film isn't simply a Corman-esque B-Movie killer tire story; it has very Meta elements to it. The film plays with the film within a film concept, by showing an audience watching the film in the middle of an unnamed desert through binoculars, and critiquing the film throughout. This second plot offers, a very interested second layer of satire to an already satiric film.
The first half of the film is absolutely fantastic, while the second half of the film is only good. The second half does offer quite a few good scenes do not get me wrong, but as the film goes on the death scenes, become repetitive, and the satire begins to get a bit thin. Rubber is quite a short film at 80 minutes, and could have actually been between 10-15 minutes shorter.
The direction from first time director Quentin Dupieux feels very fresh, and he comes armed with a very distinct vision. The film does flow nicely, but as I said earlier feels very one note in the latter portions. I feel like Rubber offers a great introductory statement to a great burgeoning talent, and I am quite excited to see what he will offer us next. I do think that Rubber would have been a masterpiece of a short film, what we have here is a quite enjoyable, sharply satirical B-movie.
Rubber is presented in the film’s original 1:78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The transfer itself is pretty excellent for a film this low budget. It’s a crisp clean image, and while digital noise does creep in every once and a while it is never truly a distraction, and is more the fault of the source than it is of the transfer.
The audio is presented in a completely solid English DTS 5.1 soundtrack. Everything is completely audible, dialogue, music, and effects. There is no audio defects that I could pick up on, overall a solid track, although nothing that will really blow your speakers. It is effective for what it is.
The disc kicks off with a very bizarre interview about the making of Rubber with director Quentin Dupieux. The actual contents of the discussion being fairly typical for an interview of this nature, it is the presentation, straight out of an episode of Twin Peaks that warrants discussion. Dupieux is interviewed by a blow up doll, and his responses are backward masked. This is followed up with a 4 minute interview with Stephen Spinella where he discusses his Lieutenant Chad character from the film. We then have an interview with Jack Plotnick who plays the accountant in the film that runs about 8 minutes, and an interview with Roxanne Mesquida about her role in the film. The disc is rounded off with an HDNet 4 minute promo for the film, a minute of camera tests, and 5 minutes of trailers for other Magnolia/Magnet releases.
The more I think about Rubber, the less kind I am about the experience. I love a good B-Movie, and felt that the concept was there, and the execution while clever was a little too one note. That being said a film like this is like an introductory statement, and I hope Quentin Dupieux follows through on the promise shown throughout his debut feature, we live in a Sequel/Remake world, and it is at least refreshing to see a new horror picture that doesn’t exactly fit the mold. I only wish I could sing higher praises for this one. Recommended.