Friday, December 12, 2014

Rubber, From France for....No Reason

Life is filled with "No Reason," or so we're told in Quentin Dupieux' 2010 film "Rubber."  We're also told, every great film has an element of "No Reason."  French filmmaker, Mr. Dupieux, likely had a reason in mind to explain what graces the screen in one of the strangest films since "Eraserhead." Perhaps a hybrid of a David Cronenberg and Coen brothers creation, this film will inspire you to think. Perhaps, though unlikely, this film is designed to be anything your imagination constructs from the particular contexts you have lived.  In any event, if you know nothing about this movie, get ready for a plot description that will blow your mind...literally.
The plot:  In the middle of the California desert, spectators from all walks of life have been assembled.  Atop a hill, a geeky accountant has given them binoculars in order to watch the show.  A philosophical police lieutenant (Stephen Spinella, pictured below) introduces the show.  Down below, it begins.  A tire comes to life and rolls out of a dump.  Bent on destruction, it crushes cans and scorpions.  The tire also realizes he has a sort of telekinetic power to blow up things.  It's first victim is a large rabbit...BOOM!  The tire has a soft spot for beautiful women, and when he finds Sheila (Roxane Mesquida) driving a VW convertible, it is in love.  The rubber fiend follows Sheila until a redneck runs it off the road.  Infuriated that it's infatuation has been interrupted, it uses it's force to blow up the head of this redneck (...a la "Scanners").  The thing finds Sheila in a shabby motel, and watches her shower before occupying the room next to hers.
When a cleaning woman (Tara Jean O'Brien) catches the tire in the shower, she throws it out of the room.  Bad move.  The woman's head then explodes.  Oh yes...the spectators?  Well, suffice it to say, they are part of a large plot device, which I will not ruin with a spoiler.  The most notable spectator is a veteran in a wheel chair (Wings Hauser).  The tire gets grouchier....perhaps realizing it's ability to get intimate with Sheila is limited.  As it's power increases, our rubberized devil blows up more heads and even massacres an entire town.  The inevitable final confrontation approaches, and we all will rack our brains for the true meaning of "Rubber."
Instead of hitting the internet and to find the meaning of "Rubber," give it some thought.  Metaphor, irony, symbolism, and social commentary are all at work here.  Too easy to dismiss as an elitist Frenchman commentating on the American condition, "Rubber" deserves deeper consideration. Available on Netflix, many of you have wrestled with the decision as to watch, or not watch this film.  Those of you who appreciated "Eraserhead," will be glad you saw "Rubber."  

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