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DEERSKIN gets 7/10 Bad fashion


Directed by Quentin Dupieux
Starring Jean Dujardin, Adèle Haenel, Albert Delpy

7/10

A bad jacket can turn any man crazy, as Deerskin proves. This is a slightly surreal, woodenly presented, and mostly amusing tale of such a thing, where a man’s futile quest for an unusual sense of world domination all comes down to his isolated sense of entitlement.

This man, Georges (The Artist’s Jean Dujardin), is a fairly lonely and fairly narcissistic fellow, who stumbles into a new town trying to work with very little money (due to his bank account being closed by his ex-wife). His reason for visiting this little town is to buy a deerskin jacket off an old man who was selling it over the internet. Even though it looks too small on him, Georges is enamoured by how cool and confident the jacket makes him. In fact, as he purchases more and more deerskin apparel, he vows to get rid of every jacket in the world, aside his own.

Sounds like a lofty ambition, but he goes right into his plan, pretending to be a filmmaker and getting local actors to be filmed giving him their jackets and promising to never wear one again – and then he drives off with their jackets. Ingenious! He even meets up with an aspiring editor (Portrait of a Lady on Fire’s Adèle Haenel) to help him make his fabricated movie, even lying to her about the rest of his film crew that he has in Siberia. She may seem unrealistically gullible at first, but her real intentions are revealed at the film’s very end.

You may remember writer-director Quentin Dupieux from the bizarre 2010 film Rubber, a slasher film where a car tyre is the killer, which had a very meta slant to how it approached its genre and the spectatorship of watching a movie. Deerskin also has its own self-reflexive theme, though it’s more sly than fourth wall breaking. This film, and the characters that inhabit it, in a way act like they’re metaphors, but still like they’re real humans.

Deerskin is an upright kind of film that feels very rigid in both its humour and its metaphor. What is a metaphor for? It’s vague enough so that you can come to your own conclusion, or take the film literally as a tale of derangement and bad fashion sense. Deerskin is an oddity that is not on a grand level of surrealism, but will likely amuse as it gets under your skin.

DAVID MORGAN-BROWN

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