Rubber (2010 film)
French release poster
|Directed by||Quentin Dupieux|
|Produced by||Gregory Bernard|
Kevos Van Der Meiren
|Written by||Quentin Dupieux|
|Music by||Gaspard Augé|
|Edited by||Quentin Dupieux|
|Distributed by||UFO Distribution (France)|
Magnet Releasing (US)
Rubber is a 2010 English-language French independent, satirical horror film about a tire that comes to life and kills people with its psychic powers. It was directed and written by Quentin Dupieux. The film was produced by Realitism Films. It was shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010, where it received positive reviews from critics.
A group of people in a California desert are gathered to watch a "film". A sheriff named Chad, points out that many moments in cinema happen for "no reason", that life is full of this "no reason", and that "this film" (presumably a dual reference to both the "film" to be watched by the assembled group and Rubber itself) is an homage to "no reason". Chad is both inside and outside the diegesis, sometimes participating in the narrative action and sometimes commenting on it.
An accountant then passes out binoculars to the group and rides off on a bicycle. The spectators then start looking through their binoculars into the distance, waiting for the "film" to start. Throughout the film, this group of people return in order to gauge their reactions to what has taken place so far.
In the late 1990s, somewhere in a California desert, a tire named Robert suddenly comes to life. At first, he learns how to stand upright and then how to roll. He comes across a plastic water bottle and, after hesitating, crushes it, comes across a scorpion and crushes it, and finally comes across a glass beer bottle but is unable to crush it by rolling over it. Robert discovers he can psychokinetically causes the bottle to fracture. He tests his newfound powers on a tin can and a rabbit, making them explode.
Robert then sees a woman drive by and attempts to use his powers on her. However, he only succeeds in making her car stall. As the tire begins to roll towards her stalled car, a truck comes by and runs him over. This breaks the connection, allowing the woman's car to start again and she continues on her way. The tire explodes a pied crow, then finds the man that had been driving the truck which ran him over and blows up his head.
Arriving in a nearby desert town, Robert comes across the woman from before. She is staying in a motel and, after watching her shower through an open door, the tire goes into the room next to hers. After the motel maid finds the tire showering and throws it out of the room, Robert reenters the room and blows up her head. Chad, the sheriff from the opening of the movie, shows up to investigate the murders.
For the in-movie audience, two days have passed and most of them are starving; the accountant wakes them up and presents them with a roast turkey. Shortly thereafter, they begin suffering intense abdominal pain. Back in the story proper, Chad is interrogating the motel owner, only to stop abruptly when an alarm goes off. He announces the poison (from the turkey) has had time to do its work, and tries to urge the other characters to go home, since the audience is dead and the movie can now be over. The accountant then informs Chad that one of the audience, a wheelchair-bound man, had not eaten the poisoned food and so the movie has not ended.
Embarrassed, Chad must continue the plot and returns to his interrogation. Chad witnesses Robert kill the motel owner (who has mistreated it) and leads the cops on a "tire hunt". Meanwhile, the accountant tries to poison the man in the wheelchair with more food, but eats it himself and dies.
Robert comes across a group of people burning a large pile of tires, then the film jumps to three days later showing the results of his killing spree. The cops find the tire watching an auto racing program in a house, having killed the occupants. Chad rigs a mannequin (resembling the woman Robert is interested in) with dynamite, intending for the tire to blow the mannequin's head up, thereby also blowing himself up. However, when Robert destroys the mannequin's head, the dynamite does not explode. The man in the wheelchair mocks Chad for his failed plan, enraging Chad enough to unceremoniously end the film by simply shooting Robert with a shotgun off-screen, after which he tosses the remains to the man in the wheelchair, who continues to criticize him for the anticlimax.
Almost immediately Robert emerges from the house reborn as a Tricycle, prompting the man in the wheelchair to protest to Chad that the film isn't over. Failing that, he protests to Robert that he is an audience member and can't be killed, which the Tricycle proves wrong by exploding his head. Robert begins rolling down the road recruiting an army of tires along the way, eventually rolling to Hollywood, where the film concludes.
During the credits, the opening scene plays again, but this time from different angles, revealing that Chad is not speaking to anyone.
- Stephen Spinella as Lieutenant Chad
- Jack Plotnick as Accountant
- Roxane Mesquida as Sheila
- Wings Hauser as Man in Wheelchair
- Ethan Cohn as Movie Buff Ethan
- Charley Koontz as Movie Buff Charley
- Hayley Holmes as Cindy
- Haley Ramm as Fiona
- Daniel Quinn as Dad
- Devin Brochu as Son
- Tara Jean O'Brien as Martina the Cleaning Lady
- David Bowe as Mr. Hugues
- Remy Thorne as Zach
- Cecelia Antoinette as Woman
- Thomas F. Duffy as Deputy Xavier
- Winston Chow as Deputy Luke
- Pete Dicecco as Deputy Pete
- Courtenay Taylor as Deputy Denise
- James Parks as Deputy Doug
- Gaspard Augé as Hitchhiker
- Pedro Winter as Tyre Burner
- Robert the Tire as Robert
The effects of the tire moving were done via practical effects such as remote controls. Director Quentin Dupieux has noted that due to the inherent "emptiness" of a tire that making a remote-controlled tire was difficult as "you can’t really hide the mechanisms well". CGI effects were used for the shots of heads exploding; during filming Dupieux used practical effects, but he was unhappy with the results.
During the writing process, the tire, Robert, was designed solely as a bad guy with no redeeming qualities. While shooting, however, Dupieux determined that this was the wrong approach realizing "there’s nothing evil about a tire" based partly on early camera tests. Robert was reworked to be "more like a stupid dog". The 2008 animated film WALL-E, specifically the first act, was also an influence on the character.
The film begins with Ballard making a speech about how events in movies often happen for "no reason". Dupieux has stated he was inclined to put that speech in because he was not interested in explaining how the tire came to life, although he knew such a setup would be expected. The meta element of the film came organically, as Dupieux quickly grew tired of writing about a killer tire. He was partly influenced by an experience where he snuck into a theater playing his previous film "Steak" only to find that no one else was in the theater, which he noted was "kind of scary."
The film was shown on May 15, 2010 at Cannes Critic's Week. After the film was shown at Cannes, it was picked up for US distribution by Magnet Releasing. Rubber had its outside-France premiere on July 9, 2010 at the Fantasia Festival.
Rubber was shown at the Sitges Film Festival where it had a positive reception. The film was shown in Toronto at the After Dark Film Festival. Fangoria magazine stated the film "deeply split" the audience reaction saying that Rubber earned "huge laughs and applause as well as the only boos heard by Fango at the fest."
The film received generally positive reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 68% rating based on reviews from 85 critics, the sites consensus reads "a clever premise gets plenty of comic blood and violence but it's hampered by some questionable storytelling techniques from director Quentin Dupieux. indieWire called the film "one of the more bizarre experiments with genre in quite some time" and that it "does begin to wear out its welcome around the sixty-minute mark, but you can't blame Dupieux for giving it a shot."
Outside Cannes, the film received positive reception at other film festivals. Twitch Film gave the film a positive review saying it was "impeccably shot, scored and designed", and "the film is intellectual wankery of the highest order in the sheepskin of a B-film of the lowest order". The Huffington Post wrote that Quentin Dupieux "succeeds in creating an entertaining, sometimes even tense horror film with the very same footage he lightly mocks. The result is an uber-cerebral spoof that is at once silly and smart, populist like a mildly trashy B-movie yet high brow like absurdist theater."
The Telegraph wrote a negative review of the film, saying "How could it not be brilliant? By, at 85 minutes, being an hour too long. By being arch rather than schlocky. And by wasting too much time on dull dialogue celebrating its 'No Reason' philosophy." Variety also gave a negative review, saying that Rubber is "Neither scary, funny, nor anywhere near as clever as it seems to think it is, pic offers auds few reasons to want to see it beyond its one-joke premise." Will Leitch from The Projector concluded his review by stating that "Rubber" is "a movie about how watching movies is stupid," giving the film a D score out of a traditional American grading scale.
Gregory Bernard said of the film: "We’re really blessed to have so much attention on such a small film. We both took risks – [Quentin] artistically, me in production – and the fact that we had, in general, a very positive response from the public; we’ve had audiences who really loved it."
|Soundtrack album by Gaspard Augé and Mr. Oizo|
|Released||November 8, 2010|
|3.||"Crows and Guts"||2:28|
|5.||"Everything Is Fake"||1:38|
|15.||"Tv Slut (Not Released)"||1:44|
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- Nemiroff, Perri. "Interview: Rubber Writer-Director Quentin Dupieux". Cinemablend. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
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- Mitchell, Wendy (May 20, 2010). "Magnet burns US deal for Rubber with Elle Driver". Screen Daily. Retrieved October 17, 2010.
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- Hopewell, John; Mayorga, Emilio (October 11, 2010). "'Neon,' 'Kidnapped' shine at Sitges". Variety.
- Parker, Trevor (August 24, 2010). "Toronto After Dark Report: "Rubber"". Retrieved October 17, 2010.
- Rubber at Rotten Tomatoes
- Kohn, Eric (May 17, 2010). "Cannes Review : Bad Ideas In Close Up: Quentin Dupieux's "Rubber"". indieWire. Retrieved October 17, 2010.
- Halfyard, Kurt (July 10, 2010). "Fantasia 2010: Rubber Review". Archived from the original on July 29, 2010. Retrieved October 17, 2010.
- Zaman, Farihah (October 12, 2010). "2010 Fantastic Fest #2: Good Movies, Stupid Plots". Retrieved October 17, 2010.
- Sukhdev, Sandhu (May 17, 2010). "Cannes Film Festival: Quentin Dupieux's Rubber, review". The Telegraph. Retrieved October 17, 2010.
- Rubber Movie Review Yahoo!Movies
- "On Rubber, Wrong And Reality - Producer Gregory Bernard Discusses Working With Quentin Dupieux - Bleeding Cool News And Rumors". 12 April 2011.