When you hear the concept for some films, you have to believe that the creators were drunk, high or daring each other when they came up with it. Usually you can see the logic to where a film has come from and where its origins lay but with Rubber, I can’t even imagine the start of the conversation. To create a 90 minute film about a killer tyre that make people’s heads explode using psychic powers is either stupid or genius. I was really hoping for the second.
It could have been genius. I’m not saying that the idea is bad. It is badly done here though. In my opinion, if you are going to go with something ridiculous and crazy, play it straight. Take the ridiculous concept and put it in the most normal setting or put it into a setting that is familiar. Do not make your unique and attention grabbing plot point just one of many, confusing, non-sensical and ridiculous aspects to your film.
Rubber could have been a brilliant B-movie spoof. It could have been a tyre that was possessed by some crazed (maybe car obsessed) killer that developed these psychic powers and went after those that wronged him in exploding head, slasher, B-movie action. It could have played with all the usual B-movie conventions; poor budget, dodgy acting, crazy story but ultimately good fun. It could have had sexy, dippy girls and overacting, overzealous “jocks” as well as the hero (or heroine) that managed to foil the tyre. I realise this doesn’t sound like the greatest film ever made but it could have been a trashy, crazy and ultimately clever film that played in the same style as Tarantino and Rodriguez’s Grindhouse movies. Crazy, gory, silly but fun.
Instead we end up with a film that is full of the bizarre. It begins with a monologue about “not questioning unusual events,” has an audience” that it keeps cutting back to throughout and is full of weird, unexplained characters that fit into some aspect of the film I didn’t understand. I wanted to watch a film about a killer tyre and for the first ten minutes I got that. There were indications that this film wouldn’t be that simple but as the tyre blew stuff up with his “mind” I was happy that I was getting what I expected. Beyond the first ten minutes though, things just took an unusual and far too “left field” turn for my liking.
It could be that I just didn’t understand it. I’m sure, like with any film, that for every part of this movie that I thought was confusing and stupid, someone “gets it” and believes it’s genius. I can appreciate that this type of abstract film appeals to some people but I’m just not one of those people and because of that I found myself bored, confused and cursing what felt like a missed opportunity.
One positive to pull from this film were the effects. I’m certain that the studio didn’t offer the makers of Rubber a huge budget to realise their mess of a film but the actual movement of the tyre and great gory effects were brilliantly done. I was struck by how seamless and natural the unaided movement of the tyre was, as well as the huge, head exploding, brain and blood moments. Shame the story and delivery of the film hadn’t had as much care.
Overall, I wasn’t expecting anything great from a film about a killer, psychic tyre but I was expecting something fun. I would have liked a “slasher, B-Movie” style film but instead found myself confused and bored. What could have been a bold and brave, genius idea ended up being a wasted opportunity that made me feel like I’d wasted 90 minutes of my life.
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)