An ode to the 'no reason' of cinema, Rubber is without a doubt one of the oddest films in this year's Cannes collection. A tale of a tire rumbling through the desert whose psychokinetic energy can cause heads to explode, it's odd from concept on, and goes out of its way to ensure we've never seen anything quite like it before.
'Why is ET grey?' asks police deputy Xavier (Thomas F. Duffy), addressing the audience in the film's odd prologue. 'No reason. Why is the president killed by someone he's never met in JFK? No reason.' And so why does a tire come to life and spend its day obliterating all life in its path? No reason.
But while the script promises no greater than a film with no rhyme or reason, it all comes together to deliver a film brimming with comic brilliance and manic originality. The tire gets a credit, as Robert, and Robert deserves praise for his performance. You empathize with him, laugh at him, get to know him. You start referring to a piece of rubber as a 'him.'
Indeed, it's less outrageous comedy horror than it is a sweet and nuanced coming of age piece. We witness this tire come to life, take its first tentative steps in the world, go through reckless adolescence and graduate into adulthood from the film's start to its finish.