By Stacey Longo
Terror unfolds as Rubber (2010) rolls across the land. This movie about a killer tire (yes, you read that right) is silly, nonsensical, slow at points and a little ridiculous, but definitely worth 85 minutes of your life.
Robert, a Goodyear tire abandoned in the desert, discovers he has telepathic powers, which he uses to destroy all who cross his path. (Kudos to the director of this movie, Quentin Dupieux, for actually pulling off showing a tire discovering his psychic abilities, which was no easy feat.) The tire soon runs across a beautiful woman with a sexy accent, and becomes obsessed with her. As the tire’s adventure unfolds, the audience gets a play-by-play of the action by a group of bystanders who are also watching the tire’s antics. Of note in this cast is Wings Hauser, as a wheelchair-bound veteran who stoically sticks through the tire’s trail of terror to the bitter end.
Rubber drags at times, particularly as the tire slowly (oh-so-slowly) discovers he can move on his own and blow up people’s heads telepathically. Stick with it, though, for the movie is aware of its own preposterous premise, and is full of remarks about how silly the whole idea of a killer tire really is. Lieutenant Chad, portrayed by Stephen Spinella (Milk, 2008) sets the movie’s pointless plot up at the very beginning: “In Oliver Stone’s JFK, why is the President suddenly assassinated by some stranger? No reason.” Indeed, there seems to be no reason for the tire’s aimless murder spree, but since the viewer is made aware of this from the start, what follows is a funny little film that can be enjoyed without having to think too hard.
There are other, funnier B-horror flicks out there with better plots, but this one has a cult following for a reason. Absurd, outrageous, and sometimes silly, Rubber will ensure that you never look at a blown-out tire on the side of the road quite in the same way again.