Monday, 28 February 2011



On a desert road littered with dining chairs, comes a car which knocks all the chairs over. A sheriff gets out of the boot and addresses a series of gnomic film-related questions to a random gathering of people. Why does no-one ever go to the bathroom in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre? "No reason." (Actually, I'd suggest that Leatherface taking a long slow dump to camera would perhaps be too excessive even for that film.) An unnamed accountant then gives everyone a pair of binoculars, and they all stare into the desert where an abandoned old car tyre (named Robert) suddenly shakes itself loose of the dirt and starts rolling off into the distance. It quickly discovers it has psychokinetic powers to explode small animals and people's heads. And then follows a woman to a motel, kills the chambermaid, and watches an aerobics video.

And then I woke up. Except I didn't: that really is what happens in the first act of Rubber, a deliberately weird and nonsensical movie that actually seeks to justify its lack of coherence by having the sheriff character lecture the "audience" in the lack of reason and rational incident in movies right at the start, and then continues along half-rational, half-irrational lines throughout. The accountant poisons the "audience" with drugged turkey and the sheriff refuses to acknowledge the death of the chambermaid because it's all a fiction being staged for the "audience", all of whom are dead except for Wings Hauser who didn't eat the turkey. And so it goes on. Don't bother trying to make sense of it.

What is it? Cinema Of The Absurd or just the film equivalent of free writing? A deliberate attempt to create a cult movie (which never works) or just someone, in the case one Quentin Dupieux, making something that no-one's ever seen before and to hell with logic or common sense or plausibility? Is it a joke or a philosophical conundrum? As a film, it is perfectly well made and shot, and its own internal illogic probably holds up, but it isn't massively funny and certainly isn't a horror movie. I have no idea what kind of audience it's aimed at, or what the Friday night multiplex crowd might make of it, if anything (it's going straight to DVD in this country anyway). Curiously I'm feeling a little more inclined towards it than I was immediately after watching - it's certainly one of a kind but I still like my films to make some kind of sense and this is too out there. Interesting, perhaps, but only mildly so.


When it comes out:

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