- Gareth Crook
Rubber (2010) - 8/10
I’ll be honest this is unusual. A man stands in a dusty road with binoculars in hand. Not one pair, about 30 as a car drives up knocking over a load of chairs that look like they’re part of an art installation. Car parks up, cop gets out of the boot with a glass of water and gives us a lecture about the history of cinema without reason. I mean the concept of reason having purpose in cinema. Not that he shouldn’t be talking to camera. It’s funny, stylish, self referential twaddle… glorious cinematic twaddle. I’m sure lots, probably most viewers will hate it, but I thought it was fantastic. Quentin Dupieux has created a low budget, slow burning, occasionally thought provoking visual feast. Scenes playfully unfolding in bizarre vignettes with a tyre as the star, yes… a tyre. No wheel, just the tyre. Anthropomorphised as it rolls around the desert scrub encountering other more lifeless objects and things it will soon make lifeless. The binoculars at the start were handed out to a group of people who are now watching the tyre, passing comment, possibly helping the more frustrated viewer with their thoughts on what on earth is going on. The sense is that they’re suffering, watching this is an endurance test or a chore. It’s far too much fun for that, as the tyre rolls around it’s desert playground, blowing stuff up with in kinetic ‘mind’ powers as jaunty music plays and the b-movie horror cult themes unfurl. Exploding rabbits, crows, people. I’m betting Dupieux loves Cronenberg’s Scanners! It is really weird, but it manages to be more than just the tyre. The supporting cast (imagine supporting a tyre), all help to add meat to the bones. Helping what story there is develop nicely. The whole tiny desert town out in the middle of nowhere location helps. You can point a camera pretty much anywhere and it looks cool and interesting. Still I’m quite amazed at how well paced this is. The simple art house premise is a great ruse to hide a much more layered film than I first thought. I’m loathed to divulge too much and spoil the fun. It’s probably one of the most enjoyably bonkers films I’ve watched. Deftly navigating around the usual traps with witty invention. I can’t say it’s amazing, but it is really really, really good. It made me laugh and kept me oddly gripped right to the suitably surreal finale.