Review by Sean Boelman
The newest film from French satirist Quentin Dupieux (Rubber) and arguably his most accessible yet, Deerskin nonetheless provides the darkly funny absurdism for which his work has come to be known. Bizarre but hysterical, it’s likely that some audiences are going to hate this, but it’s almost guaranteed to gain a cult following.
The movie follows a man who forms an obsession with his designer deerskin jacket, causing his behavior to become more and more erratic and eventually leading him into a life of crime. The blend of horror and comedy works brilliantly, offering what is effectively a tongue-in-cheek riff on slasher tropes.
It is pretty clear that the commentary in the film revolves around materialism in society, and while it is very direct, that is part of what will allow the movie to appeal beyond Dupieux’s core audience. It’s both weird enough for the filmmaker’s fanbase and obvious enough to be a hit among the midnight movie crowd.
One of the main things working in the film’s favor is its brief runtime. As is usual with most of Dupieux’s work, the movie is centered around a rather one-note premise, but in this case, the joke never feels worn out. The first half does an excellent job of drawing the viewer into the world of the film only for the latter portion to go absolutely nuts.
The character development is definitely one of the most intriguing things about the script. The two lead human characters in the movie are both compelling, but the more unique portion of the film explores the jacket as a character. It’s a fascinating and hilarious symbol for the obsession that people have with symbols of status.
Oscar-winning actor Jean Dujardin is riotous in his lead role, obviously having a lot of fun in the role. He plays it in an over-the-top way that perfectly encapsulates the genre feel for which Dupieux is aiming. Supporting actress Adéle Haenel (Portrait of a Lady on Fire) is also great as expected, having great chemistry with Djuardin.
Dupieux shot the movie on digital, and it gives it a crisp and stylish feel. The film is surprisingly gorgeous to look at, capturing a very retro look despite the modern technology it uses. Additionally, some of the footage in the movie is designed to replicate home video-style snuff footage, and it’s equally horrifying and humorous.
Quentin Dupieux’s Deerskin is going to be divisive as always for the filmmaker, but it’s still much more approachable than most of his work. It’s a smart midnight movie that’s also a ton of fun to watch, and that’s exactly what fans of the genre will want.
Deerskin screens online in partnership with indie theaters beginning May 1. A list of participating locations can be found here.