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April 23, 2011 | 10:46 a.m. CST
Although it seems a film about a tire couldn’t possibly fill 85 minutes, Rubber manages to make an entire film, sometimes painfully, about a murderous rubber wheel. Because the tire, while capable of killing people and animals with its “mind,” cannot speak, the plot progression is facilitated by a human cast who break up the slow-moving plot with much-needed punches of comedic relief.
The tire, named Robert, is resurrected from a desert in California and begins rolling through the brush, smashing plastic bottles and tin cans at first, and then moving on to destroying smaller animals, such as a rabbits, with his telepathic powers. Eventually, he advances to people, causing their heads to explode and sending the police on a wild chase. Meanwhile, a group of about a dozen binocular-equipped spectators watch the tire’s odyssey, providing self-aware and subtly humorous commentary.Related Movie
Directed by Quentin Duplex, Rubber begins on a promising note, with Lieutenant Chad (Stephen Spinella) turning to the camera to break the fourth wall and speaking directly to the audience. His speech sets the snarky tone for the film.
Duplex succeeded in insisting there was no rhyme or reasoning to the plot of his film, if only to poke fun at the tired horror themes, including a good-looking and sometimes naked young woman, unnecessary gore, suspenseful background music and sketchy scenes at a motel. But his attempt to puzzle the audience with completely random scenes, such as when the accountant is shown in a motel room with a large turkey, grows tiring. The stretches of dull scenes where the tire is shown just rolling down the road are cinematically appealing, yet seem to last for years. By the end, the audience begs for the film to conclude, which is echoed by the remaining onscreen spectator who approaches the police officers and demands, “Speed it up!”
Although unconventional with its smart moments, Rubber’s tire is flat in its attempt at being a satirical take on an indie horror movie. It should be applauded for its ability to think outside the box and for its special effects, but its plot inconsistencies are more of a distraction than an artistic risk.