Polyphonic Noise

High Fidelity: The Teenage Years

Rubber: Ummm…wait what?

Well I certainly had an interesting night last night. I was flipping through my Netflix queue, trying to decide on a good movie to watch, and the remote rested on one movie: Rubber. 

Rubber is an…interesting movie. I’ll set up the premise for you: it’s about a tire that one day wakes up and discovers it has psychokinetic powers. So naturally it uses these to go on a murder spree in the southwest where it blows up people’s heads with its mind. However, the whole movie also has a meta-level to it, in that the story of the tire is a “film” being watched by spectators out in the desert. And by film, I mean they sit out in the desert and watch the action unfold with binoculars.

Yeah. It’s a weird film.

An independent film directed by Quetin Dupieux and released in 2010, this movie really shatters most conventions and expectations. When I first heard of it, I expected a shlocky, “Evil Dead” style horrorfest. But this movie is much more than that. Dare I say it, this movie is a…a cultural commentary! Yes, this movie, as far as I can tell, seems to be a commentary on the state of Hollywood and moviemaking at the moment. Here, just take a look at the opening scene:

Homage to the “no reason” indeed.

The rest of the film follows this course to the letter: weird stuff happens, for really no reason. Nothing about the film makes sense.  Except, in a weird way, it kinda does. The film is about things not making sense, and in that way, it succeeds. This is a movie that would be easy to hate if it weren’t so….so damned earnest.

On the plus side for this film, it is gorgeously shot! The panoramic scenes of the American southwest, and the simple sets are all captures in beautiful detail. This is a good looking film, better than some big budget features. Additionally, it’s very well acted. It is an absurdist and bizarre film, but the characters take it seriously and the actors are committed. I said earlier it was the films earnestness that kept if from being awful, and much of that comes directly from the actors. They treat the movie with respect, and it makes it hard for the viewer to not do the same.

I’m very conflicted on this movie. On the one hand, it’s bizzarre, weirdly paced, defies genres, has no cohesive plot, and most of the things in the film happen for absolutely no reason or justification. But at the same time, that’s kinda the point. I can’t really say this film has “faults” since I get the sense that everything “wrong” about the movie is totally intentional. It does succeed in driving home it’s point that film, storytelling, and life are all filled with the strange, the bizarre, and the “no reason.”  It’s well shot, it’s well acted, and…damn it, it’s entertaining! I enjoyed watching this film more than I hated it. I can’t really give it a rating since I’m so conflicted on it, but I suppose I’ll sum it up with this: I felt like watching it was time well spent, and I would have no problem watching this film again. Why see this movie?

Why not?

-Andrew W.

Email me at polyphonicnoise@gmail.com or find me on the tweety-box @AndrewTheWhip

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