Short Reviews: Rubber (2010)


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Rubber is a story about a rubber tyre that comes to life and starts killing people with its mind.

Off that premise alone, this should have been one of the greatest things ever put to film, but it’s actually an exercise in philosophy and fake symbolism that has to be one of the worst offenders for wearing out its welcome I can ever think of.

The film is actually not about the tyre so much as it is about the audience, both the diegetic and non-diegetic one. The film opens with a police car knocking down a bank of strategically placed chairs, before a sheriff emerges from the trunk, glass of water in hand, and delivers a monologue to the camera about how the greatest pieces of cinema all stem from moments where things happen for no reason. Then he pours out his glass of water, and its revealed he’s been speaking to a group of people. They turn around and raise the binoculars they’ve been given and begin watching the film.

…about a rubber tyre that comes to life and starts killing people with its mind.
This movie is not the horror-comedy you expect from the trailer (although it has a few very funny moments) but is in fact a deliberately wanky sort of film that would work better as a stage play.

The crowd of people aren’t watching a cinema screen, they’re watching the events that unfold on the screen before us. It’s not as clever a device as the movie clearly thinks it is, it’s just a clumsily meta rumination on an audience’s stake in a movie, that actually has very little to say at the end of its ruminations.

As for the plot within the plot? Well it’s less the outrageous sort of thing you’d expect from reading the synopsis, and comes off more like a joke that goes on too long. 

And that’s the biggest problem with this film – it would have made a great short film, but even at a short 80 minutes it’s gone on way too long. At the start, I was happy to go along with the weird movie unfolding before me. By the end, I was just waiting for it to end, and I was bored in that way where you get angry because of what’s making you bored. It’s like Waiting for Godot if Godot turned up and the story kept going.

If you like weird, weird movies that have more ideas than they do substance to back them, you might enjoy this movie. If you can be prepared for a movie that outstays its welcome and doesn’t know when to end, you might enjoy this movie. If you don’t mind a movie that drags on as it goes on but has some genuinely funny moments along the way, you might enjoy this movie

But if you’re expecting a weird movie about a tyre that blows up people with its mind, you probably won’t enjoy this movie.

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