Netflix Hunter: “Rubber”

I’m trying out a couple of different ideas for “series,” if you will. People always seem to complain that there’s “never anything good on Netflix,” but I say they just don’t know how to sort through the vast amounts of useless garbage to find the gems hidden within. Some people might consider this one useless garbage. I don’t. 

“Do you think the tire’s gonna get laid?” Not a line I thought I’d ever hear in a movie. But, then again, “Rubber” is no ordinary movie. The opening of this incredibly odd film contains a monologue that describes how “all great films contain an important element of ‘no reason.’”

“This film is an homage to ‘no reason,’” the narrator, a police officer who is also one of the main characters, explains. Well, at least the filmmakers are willing to admit their movie is pointless. But really, did you expect a movie about a killer tire to need a reason to exist?

“Rubber” goes out of its way to let you know that the filmmakers are in on the joke, that yes, they know the movie is bad. They even create an audience of characters who are watching the events of the film to point out all of the strange pointlessness.

But, here’s the funny thing: the movie isn’t nearly as bad as its creators seem to think it is. While it borrows from a great many movies, it is itself, a unique creation.

The “birth” of the tire is an impressive scene. As it slowly picks itself up out of the sand, it attempts to stand up straight, faltering just a few times. As it begins to roll, it explores both its abilities and its limitations, such as whether it can roll over a water bottle or through a puddle of water. The camera follows from behind, providing, as best as it can, a “point of view” perspective from the “eyes” of the tire. Without dialogue or even sound, the tire is effectively brought to life and given a personality.

Pretty soon, however, we see that the tire has “psychokinetic powers,” and can make things explode with its…mind, I guess. It blows up a rabbit and a crow before making its way up to humans. For just a moment, I felt empathy for this sad little tire, but I can’t muster that much emotion for a serial killer.

Not that I was expecting to feel genuine emotion in a movie about a killer tire anyway. The film, which moves at a brisk pace, is, to put it mildly, odd and surprising. Others might call it batshit insane. Few movies these days are genuinely surprise or offer us something we haven’t seen before. If nothing else, it’s definitely something new. To top it off, this movie does it all with high production values and an unexpected amount of polish, not to mention a healthy dose of self-deprecation.

When you get down to it, “Rubber” is nothing more than artfully constructed schlock. But hey, if you’re in the mood for something stupid, at least you can enjoy some well-executed stupidity.

…And, in case you were wondering, no, the tire doesn’t “get laid.” Even this movie isn’t quite that weird. There’s probably some porn for that out there somewhere. “Rubber” is available now on Netflix instant.

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