Once the sensationalism settles, “Rub” offers a deeper look into its main characters, Neal and Perla, moving beyond their roles as mere action figures in a gritty underworld. This shift allows the narrative to blossom into a thrilling outlaw couple on the run story, staying true to the noir tradition. By blending genres, the film keeps viewers guessing, as expectations are constantly reset, adding to its unpredictability.
The third act is a knockout, as Fox delivers a mind-bending hallucination parade reminiscent of Danny Boyle’s “The Beach.” The film hurtles forward at breakneck speed, leaving the audience exhilarated, not knowing which direction it will take next.
Additionally, “Rub” breaks important ground in terms of body representation, particularly celebrating the type known as “thicc.” Figuerero’s ultra-curvy figure is showcased as a desired and empowered characteristic, portrayed with exquisite taste in a graphic sex scene. Such body shapes are not often seen onscreen, let alone celebrated with such glamour. As the film progresses, Figuerero’s character goes beyond being a mere sex object, and she is allowed to exist in a space without further objectification. This refreshing approach provides meaningful representation for bigger women, allowing them to be fully realized and multi-dimensional characters.
The film’s visual aesthetics play a crucial role in its impact. Bobby Sansivero’s cinematography employs vibrant indigos and violets, reminiscent of the trippy elements found in Mario Bava’s horror classics. The pitch-perfect spooky synth score by Nick Bohun intensifies the overall experience, pulsing through the veins of the images. Furthermore, the fact that the actioner was shot in Peekskill, New York, the setting of the fictional girls boarding school in “The Facts of Life,” adds an intriguing layer of interest for cinephiles.
“Rub” emerges as a testament to the magic of independent filmmaking, as it elevates its concept from a modest starting point to a higher level of artistic achievement in the indie realm. Fox’s directorial debut exemplifies the post-exploitation movement, offering sights and experiences that were previously unimaginable. This film is a testament to the boundless possibilities and creativity that independent cinema can bring to the world of storytelling.