July 22, 2020

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…a nerve-inducing triumph of off-kilter and self-aware filmmaking.


Hagan Osborne
Year: 2019
Rating: MA
Director: Quentin Dupieux

Jean Dujardin, Adele Haenel, Albert Delpy

Distributor: Umbrella
Released: August 6, 2020
Running Time: 77 minutes
Worth: $19.00

FilmInk rates movies out of $20 — the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

…a nerve-inducing triumph of off-kilter and self-aware filmmaking.

Killer fashion sense takes on new meaning in absurdist French horror-comedy Deerskin from cult French filmmaker Quentin Dupieux (Reality, Rubber)

We first meet protagonist-blurring-on-villain Georges (Academy Award winner Jean Dujardin) driving to an isolated town nestled within the French alpines; the air of quietness instilled in this town easily broken by the slightest sniffle.

We know little about Georges other than his odd disdain for corduroy and by his fixation for deerskin. The extent of this obsession leaves Georges in a state of bewilderment as he comes into possession of an enchanting (not to mention costly) deerskin jacket.

Smouldering stares tell the audience something is brewing inside of Georges’ mind, with Dupieux leaving backstory up to the imaginations of the viewer.

Could Georges be dangerous? Has he escaped from somewhere? Is he a runaway? This sense of mystery helps craft an alluring and fearsome characterisation intensified by Dujardin’s unshakeable charisma.

With Deerskin, Dujardin contributes to the mythos of complex anti-heroes by blending suave and psychosis with the punctuating magnetism of Anton Chigurh and the mystique of a Sergio Leone creation.

Georges doesn’t so much as wear the fringe adorned jacket as much as he becomes possessed by it. Dupieux plays with concepts of realism versus supernaturalism but doesn’t allow for their dissection to interrupt the flow of what is most compelling in the film: Georges’ chilling descent into madness.

As far as Georges is concerned, all other clothing is lesser in comparison to his remarkable deerskin. This realisation sparks one of cinema’s most unconventional maddenings, with Georges’ desire to rid the world of inferior fashion executed with diabolical hedonism.

Deerskin is a nerve-inducing triumph of off-kilter and self-aware filmmaking. Dupieux manifests suspense with stern patience and humour. The payoff bites with audacious splendour that prioritises tense mood over short-lived thrills.

Almost Hitchcockian/Hermann-ian in application, Janko Nilović’s wondrously jolting score is peppered throughout the film to depict the depths of Georges’ insanity. Its resulting sting radiates long after its appearance; creating a gestating unease that appears throughout every fibre of the film.

Scenes revealing the depths of Georges’ insanity, however strange, never feel ridiculous. In fact, they work to convey the facade Georges creates so he may participate in normative society. This fabrication is best realised in Georges’ interactions with Denise (an always impressive Adèle Haenel); a bartender-turned-‘film editor’, uninspired by her unassuming livelihood, manipulated by Georges as a source of cash. Their twisted relationship is played with a level of awe that will have viewers believing the two were business partners in another life.

While there is plenty to read into regarding Deerskin’s portrayal of masculinity and isolation (heck, Dupieux even plants the seeds as a cautionary tale on the impact of fast fashion), Deerskin is at its ripest when confidently indulging in its wonderfully bonkers premise.


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