Roxanne Mesquida in Rubber
(Credit: Magnet Releasing)

A movie for audiences “tire”-d of the same ole, same ole, Rubber is another film in a growing sub-genre that could be described as post-modern, ironic or self-referential. For years, movies were written as if the characters were in a bubble, as if they didn’t watch movies or television themselves. Now movie characters know the “rules” about horror movies, action flicks or sequels, and the films themselves wink knowingly at the audience, letting people know that the movie is in on the joke, too.

Back in ancient Greece, a chorus of actors was used to help narrate the action to the audience. Now that movies can provide voice-overs, Greek choruses are thrown to the wayside. Not in Rubber. Playing with the conventions of moviemaking, not only is the third wall broken, it’s demolished as the characters not only speak to us, they speak to an audience who also become characters in the film and watch the movie unfold in front of their eyes. How meta.

Rubber is the story of a tire (Robert) that suddenly comes to life in the desert. As Robert roams the desolate landscape, he discovers that he possesses telepathic powers that give him the ability to destroy anything he wishes without having to move. At first content to prey on small desert creatures and various discarded objects like scorpions and beer bottles, his attention soon turns to humans, particularly a beautiful and mysterious woman who crosses his path. Leaving a swath of destruction across the desert landscape, Robert becomes a chaotic force to be reckoned with: a true movie villain for the ages.

Critics love to bemoan the fact that Hollywood doesn’t have original ideas anymore. Well, not only will Rubber probably be the most original movie of the year, it might be the most original movie of most years. If Charlie Kaufman had dropped acid and written a self-aware sequel to Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, you’d have Rubber.