Deerskin (2021)

Written for RAF News July 2021

The hilariously strange and simple story of one man so enchanted by a second-hand deerskin jacket, that he sets out on an impossible task of making it the only jacket in the world – by any means necessary.

It seems Georges is going through a breakup, perhaps because he spent the last of his money on this entrancing item of clothing, and now can’t even afford to stay at the little hotel where he now resides. He spends his time filming himself with a handheld digital camera in the mirror, through the illustrious fringe of his sleeve, admiring his ‘killer style’. He talks to the jacket, he talks back as the jacket, taunting and tempting himself to destroy all other jackets and anyone who gets in the way. 

It is the detail of Deerskin that sets the tone, from the particular sound design to the deadpan performances, managing to be both tense and absurdly funny. Jean Dujardin plays Georges with a perfect blend of egotism and naive stupidity, pretending to be a filmmaker despite having zero knowledge of the craft. Adèle Haenel plays the barmaid at the small hotel, who moonlights as an editor and so is sucked in to become a collaborator on what will ultimately become his masterwork.

Already wonky, the film takes another turn for the weird and our Georges becomes a crazed voyeur, a peeping Tom with an obsession for outerwear, stalking strangers with the propensity to wrap up of a snowy night and demanding they strip down on camera or face the blade of his ceiling fan, his homemade weapon of choice.

French writer, director Quentin Dupieux is no stranger to absurdity, having made Rubber, a film about a serial killer car tyre, but in Deerskin everything is played straight, which makes it that much funnier as it dives into slasher exploitation.

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