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By Mark Fulton | September 26, 2010

A tire explodes people’s heads at will. Neat premise, eh.

It could go in a zillion different directions. The ones writer-director Quentin Dupieux chooses are even more unique, surreal, and self-referential to the film medium than anyone could expect. This even goes down to the nuts and bolts of editing and how imagery creates viewer identification through point of view. Yet any pretension is stripped away with a very funny sense of humor. This movie is custom made for rowdy inebriated midnight audiences looking for something waaaay outside the norm. I only hope it finds its way to them.

It starts with a cop climbing out of a car trunk and addressing the audience about how the best movies have elements that happen for “no reason”. Then we meet our hero/antihero: The Tire. After climbing out of sand, it begins with blowing up a bottle, then crushing a scorpion, finally blowing up a rabbit and a bird. Soon human beings are in the cross-hairs as it rolls along exploring the desert of the American west. It even watches a girl take a shower. Tire voyeurism! A kid witnesses it go into a hotel room to commit murder and no one believes him. Imagine that.

Dupieux pulls off a cool trick by having the audience sympathize with a tire. I could hardly believe I was feeling for it and then laughed at myself for feeling so. Dupieux deconstructs the foundations of the film medium and storytelling. It goes beyond clever and into some Zen zone. Manipulating basic assumptions of montage as defined by the Soviets in the silent era come to mind. How many movies in a decade try something so bold?

Oh yes, there’s also a Greek Chorus audience who watch The Tire’s adventures through binoculars. They whine and complain about the heat and being hungry. Some are more entranced with the show than others, yet no one throws aside their binoculars. The sheriff investigates the murders like a 1970s Woody Allen aloof and always aware of the camera. Its self-awareness and self-reference upon self-awareness and self-reference created with a giddy sense of play. This is a special treat for movie connoisseurs who relish witnessing film theory shredded. Yet it’s funny enough that anyone can enjoy it, albeit, it certainly is weird. I love weird. I hold this one close to my heart.

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