Sunday, August 22, 2010

TADFF Review: Rubber


If I was to tell you a week ago that the most thought provoking film at the entire Toronto After Dark Festival would be a film about a “killer tire” you would probably have laughed. Well, the festival officially wrapped on Friday and I have to say that the one of the best films I saw during the week was an extremely smart B-movie about a killer tire named Robert.

One day a rubber tire, Robert, awakens to the wonders of the world. At first Robert struggles to get, and remain, upwardly mobile. Robert soon learns that he has the ability to destroy insects and plastic bottles by simply rolling over them. As Robert becomes more self-aware he begins to blowup objects with his mind. Drunk with power Robert hits the open road destroying everything in his path.

Despite what you may hear, or even think, Rubber is nothing like you could ever imagine it to be. There are so many layers to the film that some of you will be leaving the theatre scratching your head trying to process it all. This is the type of film demands multiple viewings. The film not only breaks the “fourth wall” by repeating talking to the audience, but it also deconstructs what it is like to be a modern day movie watcher.

Similar to Funny Games, Rubber is not only a commentary on the “Hollywood machine” but the movie watchers who support it. In short, it proves that people will pay to watch anything these days…even a film about a killer tire. What makes Rubber work so well is that it delivers its commentary through a lot of humour and absurdity. The opening moments alone hilariously set the stage for what is to come. Director Quentin Dupieux has a key character give a great monologue on how all great films have major elements that happen for “no reason” at all. This line of thought is played out to delicious effect for the entire length of the film. The first time you see Rubber, you will need to go out for a drink afterwards to process everything that you witnessed. Though after you think about it some more, you will want to run back into the theatre and immediately watch it all over again. Rubber is an immensely rewarding film that is far smarter than you would expect.

Grade: A+

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