From the GATW Archives: Fantastic Fest 2010 Review: Quentin Dupieux’s RUBBER

Editor’s note: this review was originally published on October 3, 2010 as Fantastic Fest review. RUBBER is now available on VOD and iTunes.

Rating: 5/5

Writer/DirectorQuentin Dupieux
Cast: Rubber Tire, James Parks

In Stephen Spielberg’s E.T., why is the alien brown?  No reason.  In LOVE STORY, why does the man and woman fall in love?  No reason.  In JFK, why is the president assassinated by a complete stranger?  No reason.  I could go on.

This is the first line of dialogue spoken in Quentin Dupieux's RUBBER, which sets the tone for the next 78 hilarious minutes of your life. I still can't fathom having the time of my life watching a feature length film about a killer tire, but that happened just days ago at this year's Fantastic Fest. Quentin Dupieux's second killer feature showcases some of the smartest cinema about the dumbest people I've seen in a very long time.

The film opens with a man holding several pairs of binoculars at his side, looking at a row of scattered chairs down a road. A car heads towards him, making sure to hit every chair in its path, and our narrator, who’s also a deputy, gets out of the trunk and spills out the above quote. The binoculars are for a small group of people who are here to watch the exact same thing we are, the killer tire. A film within a film. Subplots to keep us focused. I really shouldn’t give anything else away because there’s just too much fun and I don’t want to spoil it.

This marks the second feature from Quentin Dupieux. All you electronic heads out there know Dupieux as Mr. Oizo, who frequently collaborates with Uffie and Justice, who worked on RUBBER’s soundtrack. Dupieux pays attention to every little detail that might go unnoticed dealing with a tire that kills. When our tire, whose name is Roger, first gets up, he has trouble staying on his, pardon me, rubber. It’s kind of like he’s taking his first roll in life. He swerves around, falls over, and gets back up. When he encounters his first victim - a soda bottle - he discovers that rolling over it won’t destroy it. No matter hard he tries, sitting on top of it won’t do anything. This is frustrating for Roger. And this is when his telepathic powers are first discovered. The method the tire uses looks very real; he shakes uncontrollably and a loud sonic boom happens and pop goes the weasel. Or bird. Or rabbit. Or human head. This tire wants to blow up everything.

A killer tire should be our central interest, but it’s the narrator, Deputy Gilber (James Parks), who steals the the show. Gilber is an idiot and clever all at the same time. It’s no surprise he can act as a disorganized man of the law - he’s played one before along side his father, Michael Parks, in KILL BILL and the DEATH PROOF. At the beginning of RUBBER, he tells us, the audience, that this is all a movie. Then, during the middle of the movie, he tells the characters in the film that they are in a movie, but nobody wants to believe him. Twilight Zone, baby. Our characters are confused and so is Gilber. It’s layers of laughing as he tries to convince them they’re only in a movie.

RUBBER is a complete riot and I do hope you fist pump as I did when you see the film.

P.S. We were given fried chicken and official “RUBBER” condoms during the screening. Fantastic Fest knows how to party.



Writer / director / composer / editor / cinematographer / auteur / weirdo Quentin Dupieux is a guy who pulls the mat right out from under the Hollywood norm and takes bold and colorful chances. Last year, Dupieux created a feature-length film about a killer tire called Rubber. He broke every rule he could and created something pretty fucking incredible. With Wrong, Dupieux turns a little story about a man’s quest to find his missing dog into a mind-bending, chopped and screwed reality where almost nothing makes sense. Dear reader, this ain’t your average Homeward Bound.

Dolph Spring (Rubber's Jack Plotnick) is having a bad week. He wakes up every day at 7:60AM (not a typo), but on this day, something is different. As he goes to feed his companion, the love of his life, his dog Paul, he can't find him anywhere. To make matters worse, he shows up to work - a travel agency where it rains inside the office - and is told that since he was fired three months prior  (he still shows up pretending to work), he needs to leave the building and never ever come back. So Dolph sets out to find Paul and along his journey he meets the strangest people who may be connected to Paul's disappearance. These include professional pet lover Master Chang (the incredible William Fichtner), Private Detective Ronnie (Steve Little), his gardener Victor (Eric Judor), and the prettiest pizza delivery girl you'll ever see, Emma (Alexis Dziena).

What makes Dupieux’s movies so infectious is that in the wildly weird universe he creates, there is a brilliant undertone throughout all of the oddities happening. Every character seems to be in on the fun, even if things end up disastrously for them. In the opening credits of Wrong, a van burns in flames while a fireman reads a newspaper and poops close by. His associates watch him. In Wrong people take it upon themselves to paint other’s cars and Dolph Spring winds up impregnating a girl he’s never slept with. This is normal for a Dupieux movie and is just a small introduction to Wrong's universe. This is what sells Wrong. Like RubberWrong bends and breaks every cinematic rule-of-thumb. Dupieux knows what he wants, whether it makes sense or not, and it works. 

Everyone in the film creates their own charm, but it’s Fichtner who steals the show as Master Chang. As Chang, Fichtner embodies this champion pet lover and truly makes the character his own. To aid Dolph on his search, Master Chang gives him two books he’s written about pet love, My Life, My Dog, My Strength Volumes One and Two. The very awkward methods in his books are supposed to aid Dolph but wind up making him almost lose his mind - or what’s left of it, anyway.

Dupieux doesn’t care about standards and brings all the right goods to Wrong. He’s batshit crazy and takes us on wild and hilarious ride of absurdity. Bringing the fun into arthouse cinema, Wrong will leave you strangely addicted to Dupieux’s world. 

Source: Twitch Film