Director: Quentin Dupieux
Stars: Jean Dujardin, Adèle Haenel
Although probably best known for his 2010 debut ‘Rubber’ in which a killer tyre roams the Californian desert in search of victims, French writer-director Dupieux’s latest picture is ensured a higher profile thanks to starring roles for Gallic A-listers Jean Dujardin and Adèle Haenel.
Dujardin is Georges, a middle-aged misfit whose wife has recently left him. His bizarre response to the trauma is to obsess about deerskin fabric, to the extent that he makes his way to a small Alpine village to blow his savings of €8,000 on a fringed deerskin jacket. No doubt barely able to believe his luck, the dodgy old bloke Georges buys it from (an amusing, characteristically louche cameo from Albert Delpy) throws a video camera in as well.
Georges then checks into a pokey hotel. In his room he squeezes into the jacket and strikes poses in front of the mirror while congratulating himself on his ‘killer style’ when in reality the jacket is far too small and he looks a bit ‘Top Gear’. Later he has conversations with his jacket with Georges voicing both parts.
At a local pub he meets barmaid Denise (Haenel). Georges tells her he’s a filmmaker and that his film is a documentary about how he becomes the only deerskin wearer in the world. Denise, a budding editor who re-edited Pulp Fiction into chronological order (‘it sucked!) offers to help him, even clearing out her savings to finance it. Meanwhile Georges acquires more deerskin items for his collection.
It’s amusing enough, but the story feels too sketchy to sustain even a brief 77-minute running time. Dujardin is typically fearless and vanity-free, but the script never really expands on the spiralling wounded masculinity theme mooted, instead resorting to wacky surreal violence. Haenel is equally committed and fares slightly better as the uninspired smalltowner who probably knows Georges is a weirdo fantasist but is too bored and/or desperate to care. The picture looks good too with the interiors rendered in suitably musty, dusty browns. Cult status no doubt awaits.
Deerskin is released 16th July
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