I like to think I have a pretty open mind about things. Or at least I did until that day I flew on a plane next to a woman who was dunking her Doritos into a jar of Salsa and licking the cheese powder off her fingers. These days, any movie over an hour and a half long makes me cry and any movie that willingly confines itself to one particular thing makes me bite my fingers in nervous anticipation. As is usually the case, I come away liking these films despite how much my conscious assumes that I will hate them. Rubber however seemed like a different story.
The basic plot of Rubber is that a tire with a mind of its own goes rolling around the desert and kills some people. I'm all for switching things up of course, but for some reason every time I make a list of inanimate objects that I would like to see kill people for an hour and 30 minutes, a tire never makes the cut. It's not that I have anything against tires per say, but I do have something against boredom. However, people were oddly raving about this film. Many even mentioned how they never thought an entire movie about a tire could be interesting but here Rubber had done it.
Was it possible that I was wrong about Rubber? Was it possible that I gave up on it too soon and that maybe there was in fact some heart and soul hidden somewhere in that rubber tire? Only one way to find out.
As it turns out Rubber is okay. Maybe I'm just getting more cynical with every day that I'm not eating a delicious sandwich, but something about Rubber just wasn't a game changer for me. You should know before I get into things that Rubber isn't JUST about a tire rolling through the desert. There are other people involved and as it so happens the best part and character in the film happens to be the tire. Make of that what you will.
The movie does that thing that is cool to do these days where it flips conventions on its head. We start out by getting a lecture from a cop who points out that the movie we are about to see is deeply rooted in the "no reason" style of film making.
He uses examples like the color of E.T.'s skin, the romance in Love Story and something about Jewish people in Schindler's List...or was it the Pianist? Or both. Anyways, all of these examples didn't exactly say "no reason" to me, and maybe that's where I first became dubious of Rubber. E.T.'s skin is obviously brown because that colored complimented the rest of the colors in the film. You can't have a bright green alien in a drab and average looking suburban neighborhood right?
The thing about starting off by saying that your film is rooted in a no reason style of film making is that you've pretty much just set yourself up for an awesome way to defend any and all criticism coming your way. If someone blatantly states that everything in their film does not have a reason for being there, people can't make points about something about the plot not making sense. Of course it doesn't make sense---it's all nonsense! Nothing means anything. There is no reason for anything you are about to see. Do you see how annoying that kind of is to me?
At any rate, the other neat thing about Rubber is that there's this whole group of spectators watching the tire do his work.
They watch it as we are watching it and comment on things as we would comment on things. It provides a nice break from the monotony of the tire but then again, these parts weren't exactly hilarious or anything. It was different yes, but something about it annoyed me. Probably the fact that it made no sense and that while watching it I knew that I couldn't point it out as something that makes no sense because it's not supposed to. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
When all is said and done the thing about Rubber is that it is extremely original, well shot and contains some awesome, awesome special effects and gore.
No one will tell me how they made the tire roll by itself so I will assume that either A. someone wearing a green screen suit stood next to the tire and rolled it or B. the tire was really alive. Regardless, it looks pretty balling.
But once Rubber came and went through my senses, I realized that I didn't really feel too strongly for or against it. I appreciate it for what it did and how it did it. It's true---they really did accomplish something here by making a film about a tire not a complete waste of time. But ultimately, I just felt an overwhelming sense of meh. Some of the writing was excellent while some of it wasn't great. Some characters nailed their lines while other characters I wanted to hit over the head with a leg of lamb. It was all just a very up and down movie watching experience for me. I feel sad about it too because I know a lot of people really enjoyed this. Maybe it's one of those movies you have to watch with people and not alone on a Friday night while lamenting over the fact that CVS does not carry Ben and Jerry's Milk and Cookies. Yes, that must be it.