13th October 2019 1.10pm at Vue West End
Quentin Dupieux’s new feature Deerskin plays out like a meandering, dream-like thought experiment. Though it fails to fully indulge its audience, it does manage to maintain its quirky style.
Here’s the idea: a middle-aged man, Georges (Jean Dujardin) hits the road. His destination is a remote country house where he purchases an 100% deerskin jacket. Apparently, it’s the epitome of killer style. Literally. His obsession with the suede piece quickly transforms into a radical fantasy where he must ensure his jacket (no matter the bloodshed required) is the only jacket left in the world. Oh, and Georges is now the proud new owner of a digital camcorder and naturally sets out to create a movie about his latest outwear-centric venture.
Dupieux tinkers with developing his own style, resulting in the sense that a lot of far-fetched ideas have been clumped into one. As with any film about making a film, there is an endearing softness to it. The picture melds the grainy handheld footage of its scenic backdrop with the slick and stylised suede world of the protagonist. Terse, matter-of-fact dialogue is blended with a sharp burst of bloody violence. Adèle Haenel plays the not-as-gullible-as-she-seems sidekick in Georges’s filmmaking fantasy. Haenel’s performance captures the vulnerability and determination of rising out of her provincial setting with stamina. She also delivers a killer line about editing Pulp Fiction into chronological order.
The movie is so matter-of-fact that its difficult to discern when it’s pointing to a larger meaning. Is it all one big joke? The film takes a stab at our image-centric culture, king a point that we wish our identity could be understood by our outer shell alone. It flaunts a man craving connection who is deluded in his process. Aren’t we all? However, it’s as though a series of half-baked, half-humorous thoughts were meshed together and churned onto a brown-washed, blood-soaked mess.
It’s not immediately clear when the feature is set. Its status outside of our lived reality bolsters its unique identity. Perhaps its uncanniness to the lives we lead allows for its central parable to hit home. Nonetheless, on the surface, unfounded motivations pull the audience along for the duration of the cold-blooded comedy as its obsessive lead attempts to show glimmers of heart.
Deerskin does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2019 coverage here.
For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.
Watch the trailer for Deerskin here: