Deerskin (MA) - 77 minutes
Talk about a bizarre and macabre black comedy.
It concerns a 44-year-old guy, Georges (Jean Dujardin – The Artist), who, as the film’s title suggests, is obsessed by deerskin – so straight away you could rightly say this isn’t a movie that will appeal to animal rights activists.
It starts when this bloke – who abandons his former life (whatever that may have been) – replies to an ad for a vintage deerskin jacket, which was placed by an elderly gent who lives quite some distance away.
On his way, Georges tries (and fails) to flush his own conventional sports coat down the toilet in a servo, before he hightails it out of there in pursuit of his “prey”.
The moment he spots the deerskin jacket – with Daniel Boone (think about the 1960s TV series) tassels, no less – he is besotted, though truth be told the said garment is too short for him at the back and on the sleeves.
Ecstatic with his acquisition, which he maintains gives him style, Georges is given a bonus when the old dude gifts him a small, vintage, cassette-based video camera.
Next stop are lodgings in the middle of nowhere – a sleepy French alpine village to be more precise.
With no money and his credit card frozen by his ex-wife, Georges offers his gold wedding ring as collateral.
Georges starts filming – most of the shots centred on his deerskin jacket.
Then he starts conversing with the jacket – I kid you not.
The apparel tells him its desire is to be the only jacket in the world (hey, I’m not having a lend of you).
Not surprisingly that syncs with Georges’ wish to be the only one wearing a jacket, while everyone else would be jacketless.
By then he has befriended and lied to a bartender, Denise (Adèle Haenel – Portrait of a Lady on Fire), telling her he is a filmmaker whose producers are in Siberia, having left him high and dry.
Denise passion happens to be editing (of course it is).
Next thing you know, Georges has engaged her to edit the non-existent film he is shooting and she takes to the task with relish.
Let me put it this way, there will be casualties … and many of them as Georges’ begins to rid his surrounds of every jacket he sees being worn.
Deerskin is theatre of the absurd mixed with copious lashings of dark humour. Indeed, it is unlike anything I have seen.
I appreciated its unconventional story arc and the earnestness Dujardin brought to his role, making up Georges’ "truth" as he went along.
And Georges manages to acquire more deerskin products along the way, while continuing to admire his visage in them.
Deerskin is theatre of the absurd mixed with copious lashings of dark humour.
Indeed, it is unlike anything I have seen.
Deerskin is the work of French writer and director Quentin Dupieux, who should be commended on his efforts in bringing to life a story about a jacket with tassels.
Haenel plays along nicely as the woman who knows more than she lets on.
I should note that there is a pivot point where the story really kicks up a gear.
To make the most of this unique cinematic experience you need to bring an open mind to the party.
Dupieux wanted to film insanity head on and that is exactly what he has crafted.
You could call it unsettling, but probably best to take it for what it is – a silly hoot with a decidedly dark underbelly.
Dupieux certainly has a weird, wacky and vivid imagination.
There’s something Fargo-esque in the twisted nature of proceedings, so if left of centre is what appeals to you, then there may well be something in Deerskin that will strike a chord.
Rated MA, it scores a 7½ out of 10.