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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover



Starring: Stephen Spinella, Roxanne Mesquida, Jack Plotnick, Haley Ramm, Wings Hauser and Ethan Cohn
Optimum Home Entertainment
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 11 April 2011

Small desert towns have often been the scene of mutilat5ion and bloodshed, from zombie to alien invasion. Now a small town lies in the sights of Robert, a tire who has discovered that he has terrifying telekinetic powers. When Robert meets Sheila, it is instant infatuation, so he follows her into town, to create mayhem. Standing against Robert is the sheriff and his men, but how do you kill a tire...

Rubber (2010 - 1 hr, 22 min, 16 sec) is an absurd comedy from writer/director Quentin Dupieux, who approaches both his subjects and the structure of the film in a very playful way. Anyone expecting to see a really scary movie will be disappointed, but anyone who is tired of seeing the same films produced by Hollywood will find a lot to like here.

The film works on a number of levels, the opening monologue lists all the things which happen in films ‘for no particular reason’. Here the director is pinning up his manifesto, the film you are about to watch mostly consists of things which happen for no reason.

The Sheriff, Lieutenant Chad (Stephen Spinella) acts as the lynch pin of both the film and the film within the film. As an audience we are watching Robert try out his new powers before going on a rampage, however, the film also has an audience watching Robert. At times we, as an audience, watch the film's audience, watching Robert. Apart from the audience the only people who appear to know that Robert isn’t real is Chad, who at times thinks that the shooting of the film is over and tries to get his deputies to go home, though they view the whole thing as real life.

Things are further complicated by the presence of the Accountant (Jack Plotnick) who spends his time trying to poison the audience and as you may have guessed by now this is for no discernable reason. I’m not at all sure that I wanted to delve into the reason behind him being in a motel room, half naked, with a turkey.

The love interest of the film, if that is the right concept for a woman being stalked by a tire, is ably played by Roxane Mesquida (Sheila).

Much of what happens in the film has to be just taken at face value as the film's internal logic is not that of the external world. There are many nods towards the film heritage. In one scene the audience, who unlike us are watching events unfold with Robert in real time, have been stuck out in the desert for days and are getting increasingly hungry. When the accountant finally provides them with a cooked turkey the throng descend on it, tearing is apart, in a scene which any zombie fan will recognise.

Quentin Dupieux’s direction makes you believe that Robert has the makings of a serial killer, the framing of the shots and the ability of the crew to get Robert to move around, without any visible aid, all add to the film's viability. Don’t pick this film up thinking it’s a horror movie. Whilst it isn’t quite a parody or pastiche of the horror genre, it does use many of the same motifs.

The transfer makes for a very clear picture, especially as the film was produced on a digital camera. You have audio options for either a 2,0 stereo or 5.1 DTS-HD track with English subtitles.

There is a general lack of extras on the disc, but they do include the Trailer (1 min, 29 sec), the Teaser Test (47 sec) and a number of interviews, including ones with Quentin Dupieux (8 min, 33 sec) which appears to have been filmed backwards, Stephen Spinella (4 min, 06 sec), Jack Plotnick (6 min, 42 sec) and Roxane Mesquida (3 min, 28 sec) all saying how much fun it was to make the film even if they didn’t always know what the hell it was about.

Rubber succeeds in being, at the same time, both an odd but very entertaining film, the existence of which I’m sure is for no particular reason. A thoroughly enjoyable absurd tale.


Charles Packer

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