Quentin Dupieux‘s ‘Deerskin‘ takes the phrase “the clothes make the man” a bit too literal when a middle-aged, recently divorced man finds himself at the brink of his very own midlife-crisis. Paying an extravagant amount of money for a vintage fringed deerskin jacket, Georges (Academy Award winner Jean Dujardin – The Artist) discovers a newfound masculinity, while the “oh deer”-moments start piling up.
Georges comically becomes obsessed with his new “killer style” that begins to exert an uncanny hold on him. Set in a sleepy French alpine village, he falls into the guise of an independent filmmaker and befriends a trusting bartender and aspiring editor (Adèle Haenel – Portrait of a Lady on Fire) who becomes his collaborator on a movie that will document a surprising new goal he sets himself.
Dupieux, who’s quirky film ‘Rubber‘ is about a rampaging psychic tire that starts killing everyone in its path, channels that same energy in his newest film, but this time gives it a face. French actor Dujardin completely transforms himself into an overly insecure loner going through an existential crisis. Rocking a salt-and-pepper beard to complete the look, Georges’ newly established identity becomes violent. Haenel plays bartender and aspiring filmmaker Denise in a compellingly whimsical way, not letting any cliché define her character. When Georges starts to record his obsession with jackets, Denise, compelled by the fake production, gets a taste of his intriguing story and spends every “buck” to finish the project.
Georges’ narcissism goes full “French psycho” when he hilariously starts to think the jacket has a voice of its own, as he wreaks havoc in the small mountain village with a sword he made out of a hotel ceiling fan blade. The small twists keep the quite “simple” story captivating, and with a runtime only clocking in just over an hour, it’s a wild ride with lots of laughs to be had. Dupieux not only directs, but also wrote, shot and edited his new film, resulting in ageless eye candy, supported by an otherworldly score by Janko Nilovic, who hasn’t composed a feature film score since 1972’s ‘Pic et pic et colegram‘.
‘Deerskin‘ is so bat-shit crazy, it’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen before, and shouldn’t be confined to one particular genre. European cinema is a beast of its own, and with this little piece of cinematic surrealism, Dupieux contributes to a library so unique it lifts his status as film maker to cult, with distinction. Ridiculously dark, ‘Deerskin‘ isn’t one for the masses, but “daim” it’s one maniacally amazing ride.
Umbrella Entertainment releases ‘Deerskin’ in cinemas 6 August
Review – ‘Deerskin’
Reviewed online (screener provided by Umbrella Entertainment), July 31, 2020. Rating: MA15+ Running time: 77 min.
PRODUCTION: An Umbrella Entertainment release in association with uFund, Cinémage 13 of an Atelier de Production production. Producers: Mathieu Verhaeghe, Thomas Verhaeghe. Co-producers: Serge de Poucques, Consuelo Frauenfelder, Sylvain Goldberg, Serge Hayat, Nadia Khamlichi, Adrian Politowski, Olivier Père, Jamal Zeinal Zade.
CREW: Director/screenplay/camera/editor: Quentin Dupieux. Music: Janko Nilovic.
WITH: Jean Dujardin, Adèle Haenel, Albert Delpy, Coralie Russier, Marie Bunel, Caroline Piette, Youssel Hajdi.