Adjectives used to describe this film already centre on quirky, crazy, weird. This reviewer found is a sometimes funny, yet terrifying portrayal of a man slowly coming undone. It is a fine example of masterful filmmaking at work.
Lead character, Georges (played sublimely by Academy Award winner, Jean Dujardin) is a loner, recently separated and about to make a purchase that will change his life. On the drive to a mysterious location, he makes a pitstop for fuel and discards his corduroy jacket in the bathroom. This shedding of a perhaps routine life is the beginning of an obsessive love affair.
Finding his way into the mountains, we learn the reason for his journey; to inspect and buy a 100% preloved deerskin jacket complete with Western-style frills, front, back and all along the sleeves. For his trouble, Georges is also gifted by the seller, a digital video camera. Slinging it over his shoulder and inspecting himself in a mirror, Georges is enamoured with his reflection – and the jacket. He can’t stop looking at it. At a bar near his hotel, he even imagines that others are staring at, and talking about, his jacket. He talks to the jacket, lovingly, subserviently. And the jacket talks back.
Now Georges fancies himself quite the filmmaker. His lack of knowledge is painfully obvious to the local bartender and aspiring film editor, Denise (Adele Haenel) but she humours him and becomes his collaborator. Devising reason upon reason to explain his lack of production crew, Georges still manages to extract money from Denise to make a full film from his amateur video montages – he shoots, she edits.
Denise likes what she sees and together they craft a loose story for the film – centring of course, on Georges’ obsession with the jacket. She needs more footage – exciting and full of action. She incites his obsession more by gifting him deerskin gloves and trousers, pushing him forward on a path that he may not be able to stop.
This obsession leads to the horror scenes of the film, but this is not what defines it. Georges is a deeply troubled character. He searches for a purpose and cloaked in the alluring deerskin, he believes it will make his transformation from a nobody to somebody.
Deerskin is now showing at Dendy Coorparoo, Palace Barracks and Palace James Street. Check your local guides for screening times.
Running time: 77 minutes
Rating: MA 15+
Language: French with English subtitles
Written and directed by Quentin Dupieux
Stars: Jean Dujardin, Adele Haenel, Albert Delpy