“Ladies, gentlemen, the film you are about to see today is an homage to the “no reason” – that most powerful element of style,” says Lieutenant Dan as he pours a glass of water onto the ground while speaking to the film’s audience, that is to say, not the viewer of “Rubber,” but rather characters within the film who are observing the events unfold from afar. True to the opening lines of the 2010 film, “Rubber” is an almost Dadaist horror-comedy that was both written and directed by Quentin Dupieux. The film is brilliant in its absurdity, however, despite its genre and b-movie plot, it is an art film that is not for casual viewing.
The plot of the film is centered on Robert, a car tire that comes to life in the middle of the desert. As Robert explores his surroundings with his new found sentience, he discovers a desire to destroy and kill through his psychokinetic powers. His blood-lust does not turn to humans until he is hit by a truck on the highway he travels down. Robert then follows the truck to a gas station and murders the driver, leading to a police investigation and manhunt. These events are also being observed by an audience from afar who acknowledge the events taking place to be a movie, while not thinking that they themselves are in a film. These audience members also watch the events over the course of days without food or water, and begin to die off as the film progresses.
The emotions the film invokes are as unique as the plot and just as difficult to convey. The film will leave most viewers with dissatisfaction and confusion; however, these normally negative qualities were both intended and only serve to enhance the film. The film completely shatters the idea of the fourth wall and also deconstructs the horror-comedy genre. Because of this, “Rubber” is difficult to watch, but rewarding for fans of the anti-art movement. It is also a fantastic introduction to Dadaism and absurdist art for the uninitiated. Despite the film’s brilliance, it has some pacing issues and a sub-par soundtrack, however it is hard to judge on those points since the pacing issues add a layer of dissatisfaction and boredom that are in a way additions to the film.