Review: Rubber DVD

Rubber DVD boxSTUDIO: Magnolia | DIRECTOR: Quentin Dupieux | CAST: Stephen Spinella, Roxane Mesquida, Wings Hauser, Jack Plotnick, Ethan Cohn
6/7/11 | PRICE: Blu-ray $29.98, DVD $26.98
cast and crew interviews, camera tests, HDNet featurette
R | 83 min. | Horror comedy | 1.78:1 widescreen | DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1/Dolby Digital 5.1 | English and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie  | Audio  | Video  | Overall

Rubber movie scene

A killer tire rolls down the road in Rubber.

A small horror-comedy movie about an abandoned tire that comes to life and rolls across a dusty Southwest wreaking havoc on bunnies, birdies and humans alike, 2010’s Rubber, by Franch director Quentin Dupieux, has picked up a nice reputation for itself on the cult film circuit. If you’re hip and open to what seems to be a one joke set-up, you’ll find even more thematic ideas to enjoy. If not, you might get bored after the first half hour and sigh (like one of the characters in the movie), “It’s already boring.”

Those aforementioned ideas include a group of observers out in the desert using binoculars to watch Rubber’s action as it unfolds — a sort of Greek chorus “audience” viewing  “Robert” the tire come to life and embark on an increasingly violent rampage. (How meta!) Utilizing low-tech but cutesy visual effects and camera tricks, the movie shows the tire rolling down the highway, into motel rooms and filling stations, using some sort of psychic power to make its victims combust into bloody messes.

Rubber subtly pays homage to other films — slasher flicks, road movies and even The Graduate —  but begins to skid away from its own cleverness by the midway point, when more human characters are introduced. By the end, when a growing horde of mobile tires hints at a sequel, I had tuned out.

Among the bonus features on the DVD are “Robert” camera tests, cast and crew interviews, and an HDNet featurette that finds film critic Robert Wilonsky showering the film with a helluva lot of praise.


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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.