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Rubber is a 2010 horror-comedy 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 the following tropes:
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.
- Genre Savvy:
- Many of the spectators. It doesn't save them.
- The Lieutenant possibly qualifies as Dangerously Genre Savvy. the final Spectator thinks he's such, too. Turns out, not really
- High Concept
- Mars Needs Women: Robert seems to harbor an unhealthy obsession with an attractive female motorist.
- 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
- 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.
- Surrealism: The entire opening scene seems to be a nod to this, particularly the chairs.
- Too Dumb to Live: The accountant, who ends up getting food poisoning ... by the food he poisoned.
- Trapped in TV Land: The actual plot of the film.
- Welcome to The Real World: Subverted. Lieutenant Chad tries to snap his fellow cops back to the real world with a This Is Reality speech, only to be told that the film "is" now reality.
- What Could Have Been: The film was originally about cubes from outer space, but director Quentin Dupieux was displeased with the F/X tests, and chose instead to make it about a killer tire.
- Your Head Asplode: How Robert kills.