Georges (Jean Dujardin) enters the cabin of a hermit he found online with almost eight thousand euros in his pocket and high expectations in his mind. When he goes out the door, however, the money is gone. Instead, he now has a one hundred per cent deerskin, Italian made, one of a kind jacket and an old camcorder that was thrown into the deal but he has no idea how to operate.
Coming out of a failed marriage, broke and without a sense of what comes next, Georges allows himself to be consumed by the infatuation he feels towards this tacky, old-fashioned suede jacket. As he gradually collects leather accessories, his mania is amped, sadistically satisfying the audience’s anticipation for a crescendo. Once he meets Denise (Adèle Haenel), an aspiring editor working as a waitress at a local bar, the cup of madness finally overflows.
Jean Dujardin is confident in his portrayal of this obsessive outcast. The French leading man, mostly known for his Academy Award winning role in The Artist, is no stranger to delightful oddball comedies. In Up For Love, Dujardin was digitally altered in order to play Alexandre, a man of diminutive stature fighting against societal standards. The role, a possibly biased, clichéd portrayal of small people, became a tender tale of paradigm subversion in the hands of the Frenchman. In Deerskin, Dujardin’s charming nature is equally intoxicating, so much so that one feels tempted to rationalise this twisted take on objectophilia.
Written and directed by Quentin Dupieux, this unhinged ode to oddness never doubts itself, much to the spirit of Thelma and Louise accelerating towards the cliff. The washed up colours and shades of beige and green balance the saturation of the script and the choice to use home footage in key moments adds to the comedic overtone, building a clear distinction between fact and mockery. Deerskin is serious about not taking itself too seriously, and it does so without ever betraying its essence.
One thing is for certain; there is not one single dull moment or wasted opportunity in Deerskin. The mix between the cast and the wittingly funny script proves to be one great recipe for this highly entertaining satire, which competently delivers what it promised from its very first scene: one wild, bizarre ride.
Deerskin screened at the Glasgow Film Festival 2020 on March 6th and 7th
by Rafaela Sales Ross
Rafaela Sales Ross is a proud Brazilian currently living in Scotland. She has a Masters in Film and Visual Culture, and has been diving deep into the portrait of suicide on film for a few years now. Rafa, as she likes to be called, loves Harold and Maude, The Before Trilogy, The Broken Circle Breakdown, Kleber Mendonça Filho and pretty much anything with either Ruth Gordon or Javier Bardem in it. You can find her on both Twitter and Letterboxd @rafiews