Rubber tells the story of car tyre called Robert (yes, you read that right). Left lying in the Californian desert, Robert inexplicably comes to life and quickly develops a penchant for causing objects “ from beer bottles to human heads “ to explode.
His curiosity and the joy he takes in his work make him oddly likable, at least until he starts using his telekinetic powers for evil. He trundles happily around the desert, struggling at first to roll without falling over but soon overcoming his difficulties. Unfortunately at this point he discovers the joy of destruction, and mayhem ensues for local people and wildlife.
The premise alone guarantees Rubber‘s place in The Room but in truth this film is better than anyone would expect after reading the plot synopsis. The rolling tyre is cleverly brought to life and the acting and direction are decent throughout. The desert setting gives the film a strong sense of place and the music helps the faceless protagonist express his emotions (though these are focused on his desire to blow things up).
Rubber starts with one of the main characters speaking to the camera and asking a multitude of questions to which the answer is: No reason. Why is ET brown? Why do characters in a certain film fall in love? No reason. This sets the tone for a film which examines itself from the outside. There is even an audience watching the action through binoculars.
As such Rubber isn’t simply a terrible film; it’s a terrible film about terrible films, which adds up to something pretty watchable and engaging. Lovers of movie madness will enjoy Quentin Dupieux’s creation “ especially the bit when a member of the audience steps in to tell the characters the plot make no sense. It’s weird, silly and downright ridiculous, but still surprisingly entertaining.