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'Rubber', Cannes 2010, a review

A past Cannes tribute to RUBBER (2010)... A Cannes 2010 feature... 


REVIEW of RUBBER (2010) by Quentin Dupieux. ‘Meet Robert. Little Tire. Big Dreams.’

How many times can you say to yourself ‘WTF?’ during a film? Well, I dare you to watch this Magical Realism, Western, Slasher, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Art-house, Experimental, Fantasy and just plain Weird genre jumble fiction perspective feature that keeps you wondering long after you’ve seen it what exactly it is that you have seen. I still am not quite sure. I think it was a film but I’m not sure of that either. In any case, I laughed a lot and was left dumbstruck, so by my book it made a great film and inspired me to write this review.

The funny thing is that I don’t know what to review exactly. How does one review a film where the main character is a rubber tire named Robert who goes around blowing people’s heads up with telepathic concentration powers? And to top this, Robert’s every move is watched by several spectators (played by a handful of ignorant seeming Americans) who watch on in suspense with telescopes in the middle of the desert without food or water. When the onlookers are fed a freshly caught and cooked turkey, they all get sick and die, leaving poor Robert the rubber tire with almost no one to watch him; but thankfully, one of the spectators refused to eat the turkey and continued to feed on the entertainment of Robert instead, and thus the movie continued.


Are we to assume that the cheap movements of an animated tire are the food of choice for the entertainment-obsessed than that of actual food (the turkey), which is a kind of poison in the world of robots, computers, machines, etc. and of our forms of distracting cheap entertainment? Is this a comment on the old saying, ‘you are what you eat?’ Who knows! And maybe, as the Sheriff explains at the beginning of the movie: there’s ‘no reason’ for any of it. The Sheriff makes a whole monologue at the beginning of the film using examples of weird illogical events from movies and in life that lack reason and at the end of each example, he states, ‘there’s no reason!.’ (questions like- ‘In the movie ET, why is the alien brown? No reason. In LOVE STORY, why do the two main characters fall madly in love with each other? No reason.’ etc.)

On that note, we understand from the start that this film and everything in it will consist of absolutely ‘no reason’. Why does the tire named Robert blow people’s heads off and destroy anything alive in its wake? No reason. Why is the tire the only one in the film with a name? No reason. Why does the Sheriff get shot twice and live? No reason. Why are there a dozen spectators in the middle of nowhere in the desert watching the tire commit such heinous crimes without jumping in and doing something about it? No reason. And, hold up, why is the tire alive in the first place? NO REASON!

BUT … WAIT, maybe it’s all how we look at things. Maybe, just maybe, there IS REASON to this film. It depends on if you want to see reason or not, like in life no? Isn’t that the great debate of philosophers for eons about the meaning of life? Is there reason? Is there no reason? ‘To be or not to be?’ So, what if we look at this film like it is full of reason. What then? I can find a lot of examples…

1) Why does the tire named Robert blow people’s heads of and destroy anything alive in its wake? REASON: Maybe this is a comment on rubber as a manmade substance taking over the world through our waste and will one day kill us if we are not careful. 2) Why is the tire the only one in the film with a name? REASON: maybe because rubber WILL be the only thing that exists in the future when we are drowning in our own waste of rubber and refuse. 3) Why does the Sheriff get shot twice and yet live? REASON: Maybe because guns and weapons are no match for the damage rubber will cause. 4) Why are there a dozen spectators in the middle of nowhere in the desert watching the tire commit such heinous crimes without jumping in and doing something about it? REASON: Exactly, why are we doing nothing? 5) Why is the tire alive in the first place? REASON: Because we gave it life (like the spectators gave it life by watching it) until it was alive and the more life we give it and the more strength, the more it will continue to assimilate more and more power, taking each of us down until IT (rubber and all manmade refuse) ultimately takes over and all that remains will be a wasteland with all of us dead, but plenty of rubber.

THAT IS PLENTY OF REASON TO ME. But it depends. Do you want to watch this film and just laugh at its lack of reason and exceptional entertainment qualities? Or do you want to see this film as not JUST a film? Maybe it’s in fact a grave warning to where we are headed as the human-race and planetary disaster and that we should begin to look for reason where clear as day there IS reason in the non-reason. Or maybe there really is ‘NO REASON’. But that would suck, for what’s the point in that? That's the existentialist view that there just is no reason to anything and we can all just fill up with air and die... Well, thankfully, we have the freedom to choose. I'll take the reason please! :-)

Written by Vanessa McMahon on July 12, 2011

RUBBER screened at Fantastic Zagreb Film Festival 2011. It had its opening at Cannes 2010.

still from RUBBER

Comments (1)

I love quentin dupieux films

Quentin dupieux is one of the best new generation french filmmakers, rubber was awesome !




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