Dir: Quentin Dupieux (15, 76 mins)
Jean Dujardin slowly unravels in this eccentric dark comedy drama that will change the way you look at jackets, especially ones with fringes. Dujardin plays Georges, a man at some sort of crisis point: we first find him shoving his corduroy jacket down a toilet. He’s on his way to buy another jacket, one made of deerskin and which he has an immediate worrying love for.
Georges pays so much for the garment, the seller throws in an old digital video camera. Checking into a rural hotel, he believes himself to possess devastating, ‘killer-style’ cool, and when asked about what he is doing there immediately makes up a story about being a film-maker. He starts filming himself as he loses more and more of his grip on reality; the jacket speaks to him, and he determines that no-one else in the world apart from him shall have a jacket.
Matters escalate quickly and become bloody as Dujardin enlists the help of a barmaid, Adele Haenel’s Denise, to edit his footage. To give away more would spoil the weirdness of what unravels, as what starts off as a man adrift turns into Man Bites Dog. The deerskin becomes armour and obsession, though writer/director Dupieux refuses to give too much backstory, apart from Dujardin’s marriage having broken up, leaving him penniless.
At times frustrating, the charm of Dujardin, undiminished since The Artist, holds the attention as his behaviour becomes more erratic. Haenel’s character offers some brief speculation on the point of it all, but this is an offbeat character study from the man behind Rubber: a horror film centred on a vengeful killer tyre, which also made points about voyeurism and the need to be noticed. A curate’s egg that will leave many feeling unsatisfied in its nonconformity, Deerskin still raises a wry laugh, together with queasy moments of discomfort.
Released in cinemas on Fri 16 July
words KEIRON SELF
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