The one line synopsis for RUBBER goes something like this: An abandoned tire with the telekinetic power to kill goes on a rampage in a sleepy desert town. Before I could finish reading that, I found myself mashing the play button with excitement and glee, thinking I had finally found the stupidest movie ever (perhaps even more stupid than Leprechaun: In the Hood). This movie lures you in like a carnival barker rounding up suckers to the freak show only to dish out insults at the audience, as well as philosophical food for thought.


RUBBER is an artistic statement, presenting the absurd as ordinary and perfectly logical. More than that though, it is completely self aware from Frame One. We’re shown some pointlessly weird images – A man holding bunches of binoculars, chairs set up in the middle of a dusty road, a car swerving back and forth deliberately knocking each one down. Then a sheriff climbs out of the trunk and directly addresses the camera. He speaks to us about how there is no reason for things in films, citing several examples. This film, he tells us, is an homage to No Reason.


To further obliterate the 4th wall, the binocular guy passes out the looking glasses to a crowd of observers who then speculate with mindless mob mentality on what they are meant to see. They experience the events in the movie’s real time, spending day and night peering from afar as a dusty old tire half-buried in the sand slowly stirs to life. It wobbles it’s way around the lonely desert floor, seemingly learning how to stay upright and control it’s motion. In this brief sequence, the man-made object already displays more humanity than the whining group of plebeian onlookers.



(Somebody could make a bunch of cash by building a multiplex in that town)

As it comes across it’s first obstacle – A plastic water bottle – the unmarked radial gingerly probes it, then crushes it underneath it’s tread. It seems to get some kind of pleasure from this power as it seeks out more things to destroy. A glass beer bottle is too strong to be crushed under its might, so it begins to vibrate in ominous tones and the bottle shatters. It moves on to small animals and birds before exacting its revenge on a truck driver who runs it off the road. The psychopathic rambler then takes a break from slaughter to leer at a woman from outside her motel room as she disrobes for a shower, then retires for the evening and watches some TV.

Dig In


(A quiet commentary about the movie-watching public)


The starving observers, having not eaten anything for days, are then thrown a freshly butchered turkey. They tear into it like a pack of wild zombies, but the bird is poisoned, killing all but one grizzled old coot who somehow knew better. The sheriff pops in again, this time in character, and announces to everyone that they can all go home now. There’s no one watching anymore. After they question what the hell he’s talking about, he orders one of them to shoot him. Feeling no pain, despite multiple wounds, he convinces his police force that it’s all an illusion – Until, that is, he learns that there remains one spectator. They must carry on.




(If you find that disturbing Mr. Tire, DO NOT go to Springfield.)

Our friend the tire then witnesses men throwing tires onto a big pile before setting them ablaze. This sets it off on a bloody rampage, leaving untold headless corpses in its wake. The police devise a scheme to eliminate the steel belted murderer which involves a mannequin and some awkward dirty talk. The observer stops by to criticize the logic of the scene. He offers up some exciting action possibilities, but the cops counter with if he had eaten the poisoned turkey, they would not be in this situation. They manage to lure it away from watching racing on TV, only to have the plan backfire.


So, the gung-ho sheriff raids the tire’s hideout and cuts it down with a shotgun blast, dumping the rubber carcass in the grizzled observer’s lap. A tricycle then rolls out and telekinetically blows up his head, before raising an army of discarded wheels to roll to Hollywood (hopefully to destroy whomever did the marketing for this movie).

Killer Trike


(First on the hit list: the marketers for Act Of Valor)

For as dumb as a movie about a killer tire should be, it is extremely difficult to take shots at it because the filmmakers are hard at work making fun of you the viewer, doing so with surprisingly clever tact. It’s shot superbly well, there doesn’t appear to be a lick of computer trickery and the practical effects are convincing enough.


What’s more is that the little rolling wonder has boundless charm. From the very start, you root for the little Firestone firecracker. Yes, it brutally slaughters countless people, but we’re shown that each is somewhat justified. There’s a bit of Clint Eastwood’s “Man With No Name” in it; The Tire, credited as ROBERT, is silent yet emotive in its interactions. It even has a flashback scene, briefly showing it happily attached to a vehicle.


RUBBER is a hard right hook to all the vapid, pointless movies that pollute modern cinema and the drones who continue to feed the industry with cash (but are cherished by connoisseurs like us). The film employs a wit and style that seems influenced from surrealist auteurs like Buñuel & Monty Python – minus the over the top humor. You could argue that a movie like this deserves a place in a gallery like MOMA.

This is not a tire


(This is not a Tire.)

0 out of 3 Cinnamon Bears. You can start watching for what they try to bill it as – a dopey shlock fest – but hopefully you will come out the other side with another, perhaps more thoughtful, point of view.