Today’s movie is one of those movies where you honestly have to wonder how on Earth this thing got made. Now I was first told of this movie by several of my friends, who knew that I love B-movies and kept telling me about the movie involving a killer tire. Seriously, a killer tire? Well that obviously got my attention so I looked it up and sure enough, there was a movie where the killer was nothing but a tire. Now I have to admit, that is definitely an original concept. So I did what comes naturally in such a situation and bought this movie, which brings us to today’s movie, Rubber.
The plot: A bunch of chairs are set up out on a desert road while nearby, a man wearing a pair of glasses stands holding a bunch of binoculars. Suddenly, a car appears and proceeds to run over all of the chairs in the road before it stops and pops the trunk. A man Lt. Chad Ballard exits the trunk and begins talking to the camera about how some elements in movies, as well as in life itself, have no reason, then says this film is an homage to “No Reason”. As he gets in the car and drives away, the man with the binoculars begins handing them out to a group of spectators that were standing there, then tells them to turn around and enjoy before he rides off on his bike. The group of people use the binoculars to look in the direction he indicated and one of them says she sees a dump nearby. In the dump, a half buried tire suddenly begins moving all on it’s own, eventually managing to stand up right and start rolling through the desert. When the tire comes across a plastic bottle, it hesitantly touches it at first but then happily crushes it, then crushes a scorpion a little while later. When it comes across a glass bottle, the tire tries to crush it but it is unable too. The tire begins shaking violently and manages to shatter the bottle with some sort of psychokinetic power. The spectators starts commenting about what the tire did before telling one man who was videotaping the events that he should stop as it is considered piracy. Back in the desert, the tire uses it’s powers to shatter a can, then continues rolling across the desert until night falls and it lays down and apparently falls asleep. The next morning, the man in glasses shows up where the spectators had fallen asleep and, after rummaging through some of their things and stealing their money, he wakes them all up to continue watching the movie. Some of the spectators members start complaining about being hungry as they start watching the tire wake up. The tire heads to a puddle and appears to drink some of the water when it notices a rabbit nearby and uses it’s powers to kill it. When the tire reaches the highway, it notices a woman, Shelia, driving by in a car and it uses it’s powers to cause the car to stall. As Shelia tries to get her car started, the tire starts rolling towards her and is prepared to kill her when it is suddenly struck by a man in truck and knocked to the side of the road. With the tire’s attention distracted, Shelia is able to get her car started and head back down the road, flipping off the man in the truck as he is stopped for gas. Meanwhile, the tire rights itself and after killing a crow, it heads off down the highway, eventually reaching the gas station and killing the man in the truck by making his head explode. The tire continues down the highway until it comes to a small inn, where it sees Shelia’s car in the parking lot. Seeing an open door, the tire approaches it and sees Shelia undressing and getting in the shower. Out in the desert, the several members of the spectators start making sexual jokes and a pair of teenage girls start complaining about them talking during the movie. Back at the hotel, Shelia finishes her shower and, noticing the open door, quickly shuts it so the tire heads into the room next door, where it proceeds to start watching TV, while out in the desert, various members of the spectators start to go to sleep as well. That night, the man in the glasses receives a phone call from someone he refers to as “Master”, and he says that he will do what he is ordered in the morning and as he hangs up the phone, a turkey is seen to be in the room with him. The man opens up a suitcase, which is full of various blades and equipment, and proceeds to kill the turkey. The next morning, the man leaves and a maid asks if he would like her to clean his room and he tells her sure, before he gets on his bike and rides off. The man head out into the desert and yells out “Food” before dropping the cooked turkey onto the ground. A feeding frenzy occurs as all of the spectators, except for a man in a wheelchair, begin ripping apart the turkey and eating whatever they can grab. Back at the inn, the maid begins cleaning the room that the tire was in when she hears the shower running and sees the tire inside the tub. The maid grabs the tire and throws it out of the room, thinking some freaks brought it in there, but the tire gets up and rolls back into the room and shutting the door. The owner’s son sees this and tries to tell his dad what he saw but his dad doesn’t believe him and sends him to get a pizza. Back in it’s hotel room, the tire had killed the maid and is watching TV when it notices Shelia heading towards the pool and it follows her there and watches as she swims for a while and then leaves. Meanwhile, the owner’s son is on his way back with the pizza when he sees the dead crow and places some of the exploded meat onto the pizza. Meanwhile, the tire rolls into the pool and proceeds to sink to the bottom. Back in the desert, some members of the spectators start debating on if tires can sink or float when suddenly they all start complaining of pain in their stomachs. When one of them asks what is going on, the man in the wheelchair explains that they poisoned the turkey in the hopes that it would kill off all of the spectators so they wouldn’t have to finish the movie but he plans on continuing watching the show. Back at the inn, the boy returns and knocks on the door to the tire’s room when it suddenly opens and he sees the maid’s body. The police arrive as Shelia finishes eating and leaves the inn. The son shows his father and the Ballard the tire in the pool and his father yells at him for telling stories and then tells him to get the tire out of the pool. When the boy tries to convince them about the tire, the owner yells at him to leave, then throws the tire after him. Ballard proceeds to ask the owner a few questions when an alarm goes off and he says that they can stop as the poison has done it’s work. Gathering the paramedics and other officers over to him, Ballard proceeds to tell them to go home as the movie is over but they all react with confusion. Ballard tells them that none of this is real, then has one of the officers shoot him to reveal that it is merely blanks and fake blood. When they question him about the body, he tells them to check the bag but when they tell him it is still a corpse, Ballard looks confused. The man in glasses approaches and tells Ballard that one of the spectators survived and they have to go on, so Ballard apologizes to the other officers. He heads back to the owner to ask him some more questions but the tire rights itself and kills the owner, then rolls away. The tire rolls on and encounters the son, who tries to talk to it but it ignores him and rolls away and the son quickly tells Ballard and the other officers where he went. Meanwhile, the man in glasses brings up some various items of food to the man in the wheelchair, who ignores him and continues watching the movie and the man in glasses starts watching, then begins eating the food himself, falling victim to the poison intended for the spectator. The tire is chased by a police car but it kills the driver, then keeps rolling until it comes to a group of men that are burning a large mound of tires. 3 days later, the tire has gone on a rampage and killed dozens of people. The police find the tire hiding inside a house watching Nascar, after it has killed the family. Using Shelia to help them, the police set up a dummy and have her broadcast through a speaker to try and lure the tire out of the house. As Shelia and Ballard argue over what he she is supposed to say, they are surprised when the man in the wheelchair knocks on the door to the van and tells them the scene makes no sense. One of the other officers says they wouldn’t even be there if he had eaten the turkey and the spectator apologizes for that and asks that they try and speed things up. The tire eventually blow the head off the dummy but it doesn’t trigger the dynamite like it was supposed to. Ballard grabs a shotgun and heads inside to kill the tire himself, then throws the shredded tire at the spectator, saying “The end. Good-bye.” The spectator complains about the ending when he sees a tricycle rolling out of the house and tells them to come back as it’s not over yet. The spectator then tries reasoning with the tricycle, saying he isn’t an actor, but it blows him up, then heads off down the road. Shelia is dropped off at her car and as she prepares to leave, she sees the tricycle riding past her. As it makes it’s way though the city, other tires begin rising up and following after it
Rubber met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a 68% review on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A clever premise gets plenty of comic blood and violence, but its hampered by some questionable storytelling techniques from director Quentin Dupieux.” In a bit of irony, one of the spectators was played by Daniel Quinn, who starred in a movie called Scanner Cop where he had psionic powers and could make people’s head’s explode, just like the tire. The movie had a limited release, making about $100k off of a $500k budget.
This is one of the most honest movies you will ever watch because they tell you at the beginning of the movie that it makes no sense. So as long as you are fully aware of that, this movie can be entertaining to watch in a “so good it’s bad” kind of way. The acting was ok for the most part, though I admit that Roxane Mesquida, Shelia, could have done a better job. The story was complete nonsense and never explained, which is exactly it was supposed to be. I did think it was funny when Ballard was half-heartedly interviewing the inn’s owner when his alarm went off and he basically was like “Quitting time. I am so out of here.” The special effects were pretty good, especially in regarding the remote control tire, as I guess that was probably harder than you would expect to try and hide the hardware inside an empty, rolling tire. This is not a great movie by any stretch of the imagination but it is worth a watch for the spectacle if nothing else.
Rating: 3 out of 5