Deerskin (Le Daim) was originally written as a capsule for a piece on the 2019 London Film Festival’s Cult strand for Sight & Sound, but for reasons beyond my control (and entirely unrelated to the quality of the film), did not make it into the final cut. So here it is.
Although beginning with frustrated dreamer Georges (Jean Dujardin) on a long car trip, this is less road than coat movie, as it follows our shlubby antihero along a path of transformation with only his recently acquired second-hand deerskin jacket (and additional “100% deerskin” accessories) to supply the ‘killer style’ he has hitherto failed to realise. Kicked out by his wife and a little lost, deluded, duplicitous Georges starts conversing with his deerskin and amateurishly filming (on digicam) his manic mission to rid the world of all other jackets, with local waitress Denise (Adèle Haenel) becoming editor and accomplice in his unhinged shopping/murder spree.
Writer/director Quentin Dupieux (Rubber, 2010; Reality, 2014; Keep An Eye Out, 2018) casts his usual absurdist eye over the reversible relationship between a man and the clothes that make him, and between a director and the producer/editor who midwifes his quirky vision. It is all at once surreal mid-life crisis comedy and meta serial killer picture, with that special element of ‘no reason‘ that makes Dupieux such an expert at defamiliarising everyday drama into a disorienting dream.
© Anton Bitel