Review: Rubber

PLOT: A telekinetic rubber tire goes on a killing spree in a small town deep in the California desert.

REVIEW: Well, I’ll say this: RUBBER is without a doubt, the best killer tire movie you’ll ever see. Sarcasm aside, RUBBER is actually a pretty damn good film. It played to raves at the Cannes Film Festival, and now it makes it’s way to Fantasia , which is without a doubt the best possible place a movie about a killer tire could play.

But why is a movie about a killer tire getting such great buzz? Without spoiling too much, I’ll say this: RUBBER isn’t just a movie about a killer tire. It’s actually a fine piece of meta-cinema, in that even the characters in this film are aware that they’re just acting in a film, and that what’s happening on screen couldn’t possibly exist without an audience watching it.

Confused yet? I’ll admit I was, and after a hilarious opening monologue by Stephen Spinella, as our nominal “hero”- Sheriff Chad, about the notion of “no reason” in film, we’re introduced to an audience brought out in the middle of the desert to observe the killer tire through binoculars. For a good ten minutes, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to sit through eighty more minutes without going insane, but the film quickly began to win me over once the tire started killing people.

Of course, this is all a big joke, and everyone in the film- not just the actors, but even the characters they play, are in on it. Things get especially interesting in the second half of the film, once the characters have to start upping the dramatic ante of the film to please a particularly picky audience member (80’s B-Movie king Wings Hauser), who detests lazy storytelling and plot holes.

While it certainly isn’t meant to be taken seriously, I assure everyone out there reading this that actually WANTS to see a killer tire movie, that you’re not cheated in that department. The tire easily racks up a good ten or so kills, mostly by blowing them up by telekineses We even get the tire having a flashback sequence explaining it’s motives (one of the funny things in the film is that no one calls the tire “it”, but instead just assumes it’s male), and some gratuitous T & A, once the tire encounters a pretty young traveller.

What makes the film work as well as it does is the fact that it’s so skillfully directed by Quentin Dupieux, who also composes the awesome Euro-beat soundtrack under the pseudonym Mr. Oizo. It’s beautifully shot in 2:35:1 widescreen, with gorgeously framed shots that gives this an epic feel, that caught me by surprise as I went in expecting this to be a shot on video quickie.

However, the thing that REALLY distinguishes RUBBER is the incredible performance by Spinella. His character is so obtuse, and unknowable in his motivations, that I’m at a loss to truly explain what exactly makes him so good in the role. Like RUBBER itself, you really have to experience the performance first hand to understand it, but it’s one of the best, dead-pan, comedic performances I’ve seen in years.

Now, reading this review, I’m sure many of you are puzzled, as I’ve probably done a pretty poor job explaining the film. Suffice to say, it’s unlike anything you’re likely to see in a while, so if you get the chance you should check it out. Running only eighty-five minutes, the film’s over before the one-joke premise wears off, and at the very least, you’ll get to see a telekinetic tire kill people- which, in my humble opinion, makes it a must see.

Review: Rubber



About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.