Rub Image


By Michael Talbot-Haynes | July 31, 2023

Once all the sensationalism fires its rockets, Rub offers insight into both leads. We are allowed to see Neal and Perla as people versus action figures in a seedy scum opera. This allows the narrative to blossom into a fantastically rich outlaw couple on the run story in the noir tradition. This slipping of genres helps the story remain unpredictable, as the expectations of what could happen keep resetting.

On top of this, Fox pulls a knockout when we arrive at the third act. The proceeding forehead-melting hallucination parade is similar to what Danny Boyle did in The Beach. Any reader knows how rare it is to find yourself inside a flick hurdling forward at 100 mph without knowing which direction it will turn next.

“…Fox pulls a knockout…”

Rub also breaks important ground with body representation of the type popularly referred to as “thicc.” Figuerero’s ultra-curvy figure is showcased as a desire flashpoint, including a graphic sex scene that is handled with exquisite taste. We don’t see shapes like this onscreen enough, much less celebrated in such pulsing glamour. Then when things get serious and she develops beyond a sex object, the motion picture lets the actor and her character inhabit a psychical space without further objectification. It is so refreshing to finally have a movie where bigger women get to have their cake and eat it, too, representation-wise.

All of this is fueled by wild lighting and the angles from Bobby Sansivero’s cinematography. There are times when vibrant indigos and violets are employed, making everything look like the trippier parts of Mario Bava horror classics. There is also this pitch-perfect John Carpenter-like spooky synth score by Nick Bohun, keeping the throbbing intensity level coursing through the veins of the images. Also, the actioner was shot in Peekskill, New York, the setting of the fictional girls boarding school in The Facts of Life. That alone has to bring some weirdies like me out to see this.

Rub comes out of nowhere and reinforces your belief in the magic of independent filmmaking. This is possibly the highest elevation of concept from the lowest scuzz germination ever achieved in the indie realm. Fox’s debut is the next level in the post-exploitation movement that will lead us to sights unimaginable.

Rub (2023)

Directed and Written: Chris Fox

Starring: Micah Spayer, Jennifer Figuereo, PJ Landers, Moud Sabra, Inna Yesilevskaya, etc.

Movie score: 9.5/10

Rub Image

"…reinforces your belief in the magic of independent filmmaking."

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