Rubber evokes the mood of a Coen Brothers film: a killer, out for revenge, drifts into a small town. Who will survive? Can anybody stop him?
The film perfectly captures the tone of this genre. There’s just one twist. No, there are two: one is the film’s aggressively postmodern approach. The second is the killer’s specific form. It’s a rubber car tire.
Literally, a tire rolls into town on its own power, wanders around, and kills people with a Scanners-style telepathic blast.
This is just strange enough to pique the viewer’s interest. How will the tire react when a kid realizes that the tire is the killer? Can it be killed?
And then there’s the film’s postmodernism. However postmodern you can imagine a film being, this film is more postmodern than that. The plot piles multiple layers of commentary about film on top of each other (there’s an audience in the film), plus there’s the raw meta-commentary of using a rubber tire as your film’s main character.
One’s appreciation of the film will depend on one’s suspension of disbelief (about the tire) and one’s appreciation of meta-commentary. If the postmodernism of Community leaves you breathless with laughter, you’ll get Rubber.
If nothing else, it’s a taut little film that has a lot going on.