Renegade tire wreaks havoc in ‘Rubber’ 

What was Quentin Dupieux thinking? A French record producer, film director and techno DJ better known to fans as Mr. Oizo, he has crafted one of the more bizarre thrillers in recent years with “Rubber,” a tongue-in-cheek exercise about a killer car tire that finds its victims along a barren stretch of Mojave Desert highway.

Dupieux, 36, can’t explain his inspiration, but he’s happy to offer some clues. “I tried to make something half dumb and half smart,” he says. “When you are trying to achieve this strange mix, you come up with lots of ideas.

“I know it’s a good idea when I can visualize it. I write all the time, and I come up with stories that sound good on the computer, but I don’t know how to film them. When the words become more in my mind, and I can see them, then I know it’s good. In this case, I saw a tire following someone very slowly down the road, and I said, ‘Yes!’ I had to film it.”

For Dupieux, who can barely conceal his passion for the image, the notion of a renegade radial rolling up the body count isn’t so far-fetched when considering some of cinema’s other inanimate assassins.

The director cites 1978’s “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!” as an influence, and says he’s even heard of a movie about a malevolent refrigerator.

The tire, he says, was the perfect device because it was empty, a shell — nothing about it suggested the slightest inkling of self-awareness.

Pressed for further explanation, Dupieux draws a blank. Like the works “Rubber” satirizes — everything from B-movies and slasher films to modern classics like “E.T.” — the tale of the tire is deliberately rooted in, as he puts it, “no reason whatsoever.”

“Replacing Jason or Michael Myers with a tire is not interesting to me,” he says. “I don’t have the talent or the money to do a perfect killer movie. It has been done already. John Carpenter’s ‘Halloween’ is perfect — it’s well shot, the acting is incredible, the music is brilliant. I can’t compete with that.

“As for ‘Christine,’ the killer-car movie, it’s good, but I thought I could play off that idea to make it ridiculous. And I wanted the audience to know that I knew it was ridiculous. ‘Rubber’ is a movie about movies, the logic behind them and how little it takes to make them look good. I didn’t want

IF YOU GO

Rubber

Starring Stephen Spinella, Roxane Mesquida, Wings Hauser
Written and directed by Quentin Dupieux
Rated R
Running time 1 hour 22 minutes

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