Bizarre tale of a rubber tire that inexplicably goes on a murderous rampage. In the beginning he can barely roll without falling over. The he begins destroying things. He starts slowly, first crushing only an aluminum can, then later a scorpion. The tension builds until he starts killing people, causing their heads to psychokinetically explode. Anthropomorphizing something as nondescript as a tire is no easy task. It has no discernible face, legs or arms. It can only roll around to convey personality and intent. In this case it also visibly shakes whenever it’s about to strike. The cinematography is stunning, the music is vibrant. The production certainly has style.
Director Quentin Dupieux originally made a name for himself under the pseudonym Mr. Oizo. A French techno musician, he had success with an instrumental track called “Flat Beat” in 1999 which went all the way to #1 in the UK. In fact the multi-layered variety of music is one of the movie’s best features. Here he teams up with Gaspard Augé of electronic music duo Justice to create the genre hopping soundtrack. The director appropriates a 70s ethos that recalls Steven Spielberg’s 1971 made-for-TV classic, Duel. Part horror, part comedy, the cinema is probably best characterized as experimental. The type of offering a college student majoring in film studies might submit as their senior thesis. It’s rather offbeat and absurd.
An interesting idea could have been brilliant but the story wears out its welcome with a lack of story and self conscious artistic touches. You see some of the participants are aware they are in a picture. Actor Stephen Spinella as Lieutenant Chad address the audience early on and expresses a “no reason” philosophy of many movies (including this one, I presume). Other actors are members of a crowd watching from the sidelines with binoculars commenting on the action. Those conceits are less successful than when the tire is just acting under its own power. Confusion, anger, despair, even love – the tire feels all of these. It’s simply 82 minutes of surrealism. The brilliance of the script is that you actually believe it has these emotions.