Film / Rubber

"This movie... Is an homage to the no reason."
The Sheriff

Rubber is a 2010 horror-comedy by Quentin Dupieux about an abandoned car tire named Robert who comes to life for no reason and roams the desert. After spending some time rolling about and crushing insects, Robert discovers he has powerful telekinetic abilities that he uses to annihilate crows, rabbits, and eventually human beings. All the while, a group of spectators watch the events through binoculars as if viewing a film.

This film provides examples of:

  • Absurdism: a textbook example.
  • Animate Inanimate Object
  • Arc Words: "No reason."
  • Attack of the Killer Whatever: Deconstructed.
    Spectator: It's not the end! He's been reincarnated as a tricycle!
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: At the beginning of the film, a cop talks directly to the camera about how things happen in films for "no reason," and dedicates the film to that tradition. It turns out he was addressing a crowd of spectators, though his statements apply to the actual film as much as the in-universe film.
  • Fanservice: Robert watching a woman take a shower. "I think this is the first time in my life I've ever identified with a tire."
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: It certainly doesn't protect the final Spectator from being blown up by the reincarnated Robert. And the ending implies that "our" reality could be at risk as well.
  • Greek Chorus: The audience.
  • High Concept: A tire comes to life and kills people with its psychic powers.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: A boy puts roadkill on the pizza his Jerkass father ordered him to get.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In addition to Breaking the Fourth Wall, some of the characters make statements that fit this trope.
  • Mars Needs Women: Robert seems to harbor an unhealthy obsession with an attractive female motorist.
  • The Needless: The wheelchair spectator doesn't eat any of the poisoned food, doesn't seem to have brought food of his own, but over a several day stay in the desert never complains of being hungry.
  • No Fourth Wall: In-universe example: over the course of the film all the characters who thought they were watching/making a fiction end up leaning on the fourth wall and finding out it's not there - this is what gets the spectator killed in the end.
  • No Name Given: No one ever calls the tire "Robert" in the film. They do, however, occasionally refer to him as a "he."
  • Plot Armor:
    • In-universe example: Lieutenant Chad persuades someone to shoot him to prove that what's happening isn't real. He takes two bullets to the chest and is fine, because he hasn't found out it's real life yet.
    • The final Spectator thinks he has plot armor, too, because he isn't an actual character. He is, and he doesn't.
  • Plot Tumor: Another in-universe example: The last spectator's insistence that he find out what happens to the tire causes it to break through the fourth wall and carry on its rampage long after the story was supposed to be over.
  • Psychic Powers
  • Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: Averted with the audience. Played straight with the sheriff.
  • Rule of Cool: How else could you explain the existence of Robert?
  • Sequel Hook: Robert is reincarnated as a tricycle. He brings a bunch of other discarded tires to life, and they find their way to Hollywood, presumably to wreak havoc. And it's not entirely clear if they're finding their way into "our" reality.
  • Shower Scene: It wouldn't really be a spoof of a horror movie without one or two. In the first, the tire peeks in on Sheila taking a shower; in the second, a housekeeper opens the curtain to find... well, Robert taking a shower of his own.
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: The trailers make no mention of the breaking the fourth wall elements and focus mostly on the Show Within a Show plot of the tire.
  • Spies in a Van: Ruthlessly deconstructed just like every other trope.
  • Surrealism: The entire opening scene seems to be a nod to this, particularly the chairs.
  • Squick: Every single one of the Your Head A-Splode moments. Though apparently averted in-universe; a cop just looks over the scene, finishing his lunch and merely shaking his head.
  • This Is Reality: Inverted. The lieutenant tries to convince the other cops that they're in a movie. He has them shoot him in the chest to prove it.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The accountant, who ends up eating poisoned food ... that he poisoned himself.
  • Trapped in TV Land: The actual plot of the film.
  • Video Credits: The closing credits show each of the cast members in action as their character... including Robert.
  • Your Head A-Splode: How Robert kills.