Rubber (Blu-ray)
Blu-ray B - United Kingdom - Optimum Releasing
Review written by and copyright: Neil Bray (8th September 2011).
The Film

Rubber is a film about a tyre (called Robert) who comes to life, discovers he has psychokinetic abilities, and goes on a killing spree.

Now, if you’re anything like me, the mere mention of the words ‘tyre’ and ‘killing spree’ in the same sentence was enough to pique your interest. It sure piqued mine. I sat down to watch this film with a kind of giddy anticipation reserved only for the worst kind of B-movies; and, I have to admit that the first 15 minutes or so deliver exactly what I expected.

There’s a few scenes of seemingly nonsensical happenings and images (a bunch of chairs dotted along a road, a guy with a handful of binoculars staring out into the desert), before a police car appears. It proceeds to knock down the chairs before coming to a stop. The boot opens and out climbs the sheriff; who proceeds to stare directly into the camera and point out to us how many films have things happening for absolutely no reason. No reason at all.

He makes his point very well; and you know you’re in for a film that will be full of events that will happen for no reason. Then the camera pulls back and you realise he’s actually talking to a group of people standing by the road. They are the spectators and will shortly be give the binoculars and told to watch Robert’s evolution. It’s a very clever way of getting the viewer into the spirit of a film that is, essentially, a trashy piece of B-movie cinema.

Unfortunately, the film doesn’t entirely deliver on its promise. The build-up is great; with our killer (that’s the tyre named Robert in case you’ve forgotten) trundling through the desert and, like any good serial killer, discovering his propensity for killing. He starts small with a plastic bottle before moving on to small animals; but wait, suddenly he realises he can destroy things with this mind (once again I want to stress this is a tyre!), and before you know it there are exploding bunnies and birds littering the sun-baked desert sands.

The promise these opening scenes deliver is almost palpable and I eagerly anticipated the film kicking into high gear. I wanted to see Robert the Tyre destroying cars ‘Hitcher’ style, killing hapless travellers with his wobbly mind skills before finally reaching suburbia and going a rampage killing children, destroying property, running down grannies with walking-frames before a final bloody showdown with the cops that would involve hostages and a suicide-rollout. Now, if that sounds good to you, you’ll be sorely disappointed that that is NOT what you get.

Instead the film seems to meander along without really getting anywhere. There are some exploding heads but these moments simply seem underused. A film about a sentient tyre is never going to appeal to a broad spectrum of viewers, so, for me at least, the concept needed to play to its strengths and have the tyre really going all-out with its killings.

Well, that didn’t happen and by the end of the film I was left feeling like I had wasted 80 minutes of my time....for No Reason!

Video

Presented in 1.78:1 (1080p, AVC) this film looks excellent. The picture is very sharp and impressive and you can almost feel the heat rising off the desert. Absolutely nothing to criticise here.

Audio

An English DTS HD-Master 5.1 track and an English LPCM 2.0 track are the options on this disc; and I have to say I was very impressed with the tracks here. The film’s soundtrack offers a lot of opportunity to use speakers to their fullest and, in my opinion, that is what they have achieved. Good bass levels and lots of ambient noise. English HoH subtitles are included.

Extras

Interview:
Quentin Dupieux (8.33), Stephen Spinella (4.06), Jack Plotnick (6.42) and Roxane Mesquida (3.28) – Taking its tone from the film itself, director Quentin Dupiuex’s interview is conducted by a male blow-up doll and covers the inspiration for the film and the choices he made in using a rubber tyre. The other interviews are of much more standard fare and cover how the actors became involved and what their characters were all about.

Teaser Test (0.47) – literally a test of a tyre rolling through the desert. Totally pointless.

Theatrical Trailer (1.29)

Overall

A great concept that is possibly one of the most original films I have ever watched. Unfortunately let down by a directionless plot and a lot of missed opportunities to turn it into a cult-classic. Worth a watch, but don’t expect too much.

The Film: C Video: A Audio: A Extras: D Overall: C+

 


DVD Compare is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and the Amazon Europe S.a.r.l. Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.co.uk, amazon.com, amazon.ca, amazon.fr, and amazon.de.