Everyone loves a good screwball comedy once in a while. Sometimes you just want to watch a movie and not have to think. You just want something silly you can switch off and laugh at because of the absolute absuridty of the entire thing. This is what Rubber appeared to be, from the trailer at least. A tire that rolls through the desert and kills animals and people through telepathy? Very absurd, and people loved it. The idea was crazy, it was shot beautifully, and it promised to be a hilarious, goofball movie to laugh mindlessly at.
Until the movie starts.
One of the first scenes is a monologue about how movies today do things that make no sense, and when people challenge the reason they did it, the directors just shrug and tell the fans “No reason”. “Why is the alien in E.T. brown?’ Maybe because no one has ever seen an actual extraterrestrial, so body type and skin color are completely subjective until proven otherwise. Or “No Reason”, which ever you prefer. “Why do we never see the characters in Texas Chainsaw Massacre use the bathroom or wash their hands?” I don’t know, maybe because in the midst of being chased by a seven foot tall, four foot wide homicidal maniac wearing the skin of his victims and wielding a chainsaw, hygiene isn’t very high on their list of priorities, nor is it essential to show every minute detail of every scene in every movie, otherwise every movie ever made would be hours upon hours of droll, boring nonsense that we have to deal with in every day life and turn to movies to escape from. That couldn’t possibly be it, though.
This is the meat of this monologue, and he is filled with such conviction, you can tell he’s about to blow our minds with this completely original, blistering satire of the film industry who has run out of original ideas and creativity and does things only for the sake of dollars these days, and Dupieux is here not only to mock them and show them the error of their ways, but to encapsulate us with his brilliant, Kubrick-esque vision of what a well written, fully thought out film should look like.
Except that’s not what happens at all.
He goes on his sternly worded hissy fit about “No Reason”, resulting in a scathing take on the state of the film industry, then a man holding multiple pairs of binoculars turns to a group of people standing in the middle of the desert, passes out the binoculars, and instructs them to turn around and start watching. It’s all very awkward and weird, even by arthouse standards.
Then begins the actual journey of the tire, named Robert. It’s just like any other origin story, and the tire is treated much like a child. It is “born” from the dump, it learns to roll, and eventually finds out it can crush objects like a plastic bottle and a scorpion just by rolling over them. It is just gleefully rolling along in it’s newfound sentience, and gets caught on a glass bottle. This is where the story gets weirder. The tire begins pulsating and shaking like a woman having an orgasm, and suddenly the glass bottle shatters and Robert rolls off on his murderous little way. This graduates from glass bottles to birds and eventually people and all these scenes are interspersed with scenes of the crowd offering ham-fisted, finger-wagging advice about the film industry to each other. “You know it’s forbidden by law to film this film. They’ll throw you in jail for that.” says one older black woman.
Here’s the reason I think this movie accomplishes absolutely nothing: I think Dupieux’s heart is in the right place. I think he has a point that Hollywood has gotten lazy, and they only amke movies for the shareholders of a few major companies and the art of filmmaking at the highest level is but a foregone conclusion at this point. The art is in the hands of the independents, and the people who still have that passion. I understand that’s what he’s tryng to get across, but I think his approach is all wrong. What he’s done with this movie is the same thing he’s complaining about, only in a much more direct, passive aggressive fashion. It was intended to be a big middle finger to the film industry, but it’s really just more of the same bullshit he’s trying to combat. His movie is a triumph of the “No Reason” approach he was bitching about in the beginning of the movie, and the irony doesn’t make it any better than the movies he was bitching about, it only makes it a stripped down perfect example without any of the bullshit surrounding the “No Reason” aspect he was so tired of seeing in movies.
In the end, it’s just a temper tantrum from someone who is upset that movies aren’t made the way he wants them to be made, by someone who has more money than sense and is probably surrounded by people who tell him how original and interesting and creative he is. I didn’t find anything creative or original about this movie, and it does the exact opposite of what he set out to do.
I’m rambling so I’m gonna wrap this up, but I really just want to say fuck Quentin Dupieux and quit bitching about the industry if you’re just going to waste time and money on an overpriced bitch fit. That is all.