Tuesday, July 5, 2011


In the prologue to the strange and impishly clever Rubber, a man pops out of the trunk of a car and distills that movies, like life, are made up of things without any reason, and perhaps logic has little place in either.  Director Quentin Dupieux, who also serves as writer, editor and composer, expands on that idea with his logic-defying, free associative, Dada-like little indie.  With a high concept premise involving a nihilistic tire causing mayhem in a quiet desert town (yes, you read that correctly), Rubber sets the stage fairly high early on in obtaining the cult-like, B-movie exploitation slot its so richly pining for, with all its winks and nudges.  There's even an audience watching the film with us, a Greek chorus of sorts who make quiet asides about the story going on before us and chattering amongst each other; whether as a metaphor for disrespectful movie patrons or as just another prankish bit of random nothingness-- they're all killed halfway through the movie.  Rubber doesn't have any rules, but it does have a strange little charm all its known.  Slightly piggy-backed from Steven Spielberg's Duel, with a dose of Hitchcock's Psycho (there's a fun shower scene reference), blended with the Coen Brothers at their most unhinged, mixed with who knows what, but Dupieux has such a unique absurdity and confidence behind the camera, so much so that sequences that are ridiculous (nearly all of them) or implausible (ditto) come out not only meticulously rendered, but almost masterful.  Rubber is just as absurd as Transformers, but there's a joyful bust of spirit coming out of the seams here, and a pulsating sense of fun and adventure.  There's so few movies that come out these days that genuinely surprise, and Rubber's to-hell-with-it attitude might grate some, but quietly feels like a shot of adrenaline for the American independent movement.  And while Rubber is also guilty sometimes of being a little too over the moon with its own cleverness, the gentle and fun pacing of Dupieux' oddity wins out in the end.  B+

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