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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Rubber

June 13th, 2011

Rubber - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

Rubber opened in limited release with reviews that were good, but not great. It's opening weekend per theater average was on the low side, while it collapsed pretty quickly after that. Will it find a more receptive audience on the home market? Or is becoming a minor cult film the best it can hope for?

The Movie

Normally this part of the review is for the plot. But this time I'm going without one. It really is an almost inexplicable film to describe. The film is about a tire, name Robert, that starts rolling around on its own and uses its psychokinetic powers to kill people. Here's the thing, by the time we see Robert rolling around, it's not the weirdest thing that has happened in the movie up to that point. This really is a movie you have to watch, or to be more accurate, it is a movie you really have to experience for yourself and I don't want to spoil any of it unnecessarily. As such, that's as much of the plot as I'm willing to divulge.

Does the film work? Yes. I was absolutely, and inexplicably, fascinated with this movie. I never found it scary, so I wouldn't describe it as a horror movie. There is some gore, quite a lot of gore, but much of it is shown after the fact. There's not even real malice on display, so you can't call it Torture Porn. There's humor here, but its dry and very much on the absurd side. It is also extremely well made with many beautiful shots that are so nice to look at, that I forgot how silly the film was several times.

So what's the point? Is the movie a spoof of exploitation flicks from the 1970s? It's certainly filmed in a way that would suggest that, but I'm not convinced that's the purpose. Is it a grand examination of the audiences roles in the film industry? Is the writer / director, Quentin Dupieux, trying to tell us that audience members are too willing to be duped and this appetite for entertainment will be our ruination in the end? Maybe. But I would need more evidence to buy that. No, I think this film has a lot in common with Lesbian Vampire Killers. That movie was created after the filmmakers tried to come up with the dumbest name they could think of that would still be commercially viable. I think with Rubber, Quentin Dupieux decided to create the least likely main character for a film and tried to see if he could get away with it. I believe that's the entire point of the film.

I could be entirely wrong, but that's my opinion.

The Extras

The DVD has several interviews starting with Quentin Dupieux being interviewed by an inflatable sex doll in, uh, I'm going to say Swedish, as a reference to Top Secret!. There are also interviews with Stephen Spinella, Jack Plotnick, and Roxane Mesquida. Next up is a short collection of test shots. Finally, there's HDNET: A Look at Rubber, which is a five-minute preview for the movie.

I don't have the Blu-ray to compare directly, but the film was shot digitally, so it likely looks great in High Definition. The list price for the Blu-ray is only about 10% more than the DVD, which would be a great price; however, the discount on the DVD is much deeper so the Blu-ray costs more than 40% more, which is too much.

The Verdict

Rubber is without a doubt one of the weirdest movies I've heard about. I was strangely compelled by the movie, but I think the target audience might be a little too small to thrive, even on the home market. I think it is at least worth checking out, but give it a rental first. If you have seen it, there are enough extras on the DVD or the Blu-ray that it is worth picking up. Just make sure to compare the prices of the two formats.

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Filed under: Video Review, Rubber