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THIS cinematic masterpiece is a meta introspective view on our sullen lives as the audience whom craves a release from our daily routine. A primordial beckoning, if you will, towards a greater purpose through the art we wish to consume. “Rubber” is nothing less than a true reflection of our dull lives from which we long to break free.
Is it art or artifice, or is there a difference? Nay, we are one, both mind and body, part of that which we seek through the motion picture. The pseudo parasitical dynamic by which audience, and artist gestate is what "Rubber" explores with every moment of its visually stunning expression of humanities struggle for meaning.
Robert, a simple name to a simple form, giving the sensation of meaninglessness. A tire, the simplest of devices, with the most burdensome of purposes. This symbolism expresses everyday man and his struggle to find meaning. And yet, in the very opening monologue, it is made brutally clear, there is no meaning. Because of this, like all humanity, he lashes out, even violently, at that which he is unable to conquer. He struggles to find some level of peace in even the simplest of vices including women and TV. His desires fixate on one particular female; a foreigner of beauty. This is a clear expression of his fantasies of cultures mysterious to him, not unlike all American's trapped in their daily routine. That which is foreign is exciting and new, is it not?
Robert kills all but the young boy. Like all men that long for the simpler days of their youth, he would not confront the boy. Instead he runs from the child as though afraid of his own reflection. Is it a coincidence that the director brilliantly confronted Robert with a mirror in this scene? I think not.
Besides the struggles of Robert, are the struggles of the director who is the God of his own little universe. He shapes and molds the reality of the characters around him. His struggle is deeper. It is with the very audience that he has invited to bear witness to his glorious masterpiece. The audience watch on like cattle, suffering cold and hunger to be privy to only a moment of glory in the plot unfolding before them. They share the same struggles with the banality of life as does Robert. Suffering torturous conditions in the hopes for a solitary moment of beauty.
The director lashes out on the audience. He kills them so his toil for perfection might end. This symbiosis between artist and audience is a hostile one, marvelously depicted in the director’s attempt to be released from his art, yet compelled by it. The art takes over, the audience refusing to yield. THE SHOW MUST GO ON! It takes on a life of its own and the director loses control of it. Even when he hopes it to be over, it lingers. The director is always at the mercy of the audience as they are at the mercy of his art. Ouroboros gorges itself!
The director begs the question, as though for mercy, "Is this the real life, or is this fantasy. Caught in a landslide, no escaping reality." He even dares an extra to shoot him, challenging the very existence of his own art, only to find out his work will never be complete.
And Robert does indeed go on. Finding himself on the outskirts of Hollywood. He has broken free of the directors control, but the director will never be free. The director will always crave the approval of the audience that will always crave more. Never submitting, never releasing, and endless cycle of toil...