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Home > Movies > 31 Monstrous Failures #5: Robert

31 Monstrous Failures #5: Robert

October 5th, 2011

Today I hit the road for an eleven-day tour of England. However, there will be no interruption of this year’s Halloween countdown; I’ve queued up enough posts to carry us all through until my return. You may breathe easily.

And what monster is more appropriate for a trip than a rubber tire? A telekinetic tire with a mind for murder? Let me introduce you to…

Robert!

Okay, I’m being unfair here. Robert, the star of 2010’s Rubber, can’t be considered a true failure. He’s of a piece with the movie’s Dada sensibilities.

But, at the end of the day, he’s still a sentient rubber tire. As monsters go, he’s only slightly scarier than Amityville 4‘s killer lamp.

Rubber is a truly odd experience, and Robert is not at all the oddest thing in it. The movie opens with a character directly addressing the audience:

In the Steven Spielberg movie “E.T.,” why is the alien brown? No reason. In “Love Story,” why do the two characters fall madly in love with one another? No reason. In Oliver Stone’s “JFK,” why is the president suddenly assassinated by some stranger? No reason…You probably never gave it a thought, but all great films, without exception, contain an important element of no reason, and you know why? Because life itself is filled with no reason…Ladies, gentlemen, this film you’re about to see today, is an homage to ‘no reason,’ the most powerful element of style.

Indeed, there’s absolutely no reason given for the abandoned tire’s self-awareness, nor its deadly telekinesis. And there’s no reason that there’s another audience within the film watching events unfold through binoculars. Or that the “filmmakers” are trying to poison them so they can all knock off early.

Rubber does score some cheap points about the moviegoing experience–including a scene in which the exhibitor literally steals money from people’s wallets–but mostly it’s very silly fun about a sinister sidewall with a talent for making things explode.

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