Quentin Dupieux is fascinated by inanimate objects. In the 1990s, as the music director Mr. Oizo, it was his slack-faced yellow character Flat Eric, nodding along to electro-house. A decade ago, when he was a filmmaker, there was an tyre dubbed Robert in the bizarre horror film Rubber. Now it's an oversized cowboy jacket with fringes that draws his attention. Much like Peter Strickland's In Fabric or Paul Thomas Anderson's Phantom Thread, Deerskin finds an interest and awe in the fashion industry's machinations and adds a touch of objectophilia thrown in for good measure.
It's not surprising that an element of a slightly surreal French humor is sprinkled throughout the idiosyncratic talelike the B&B receptionist who gives an room-key that has a foxpaw keyring or the sex-worker who says, "If you need bitches to sex I'm here." However, for Dupieux who's film resume includes car parts that kill as well as giant insects and Marilyn Manson as a high-school geek, it's a fairly subtle incident.
The absurd plot is performed with astonishment and clarity. In the role of Georges, Jean Dujardin deadpans his way through a variety of bizarre situations when his sartorial compulsion grows from superficial narcissism, to a bloody psychosis. French audiences are already familiar with his comedy skills however if your sole encounter with Dujardin is his smouldering silently on screen in The Artist, this will be an enthralling experience. his charismatic charm transformed into something utterly pathetic and gruesome. The performance is incredibly selfless that has him constantly giggling at himself in the mirror, engage in conversations that resemble Smeagol, and, at one point, to suck off a wedding ring an unidentified corpse.
This is a self-reflexive work of work A horror film that focuses on the making of a scary film.
Such strange diversions are kept relatively grounded by the presence of Portrait Of A Lady On Fire's Adele Haenel, as barmaid-slash-wannabe-filmmaker Denise, who once edited Pulp Fiction into chronological order, and whose wide-eyed naivety misinterprets Georges' fanatical filming as a satirical mockumentary. It's a self-reflective piece of art that is a horror film that focuses on the process of making a horror film, and the exploitative, high-stakes nature of the business although it does morph from a low-key affair into more familiar territory of the genre The tone remains constant throughout. Similar to Peeping Tom and Nightcrawler, Georges' camera is a voyeuristic camera and he films strangers without consent — and with no jackets on regardless of whether they consent or not. the footage that comes out, at times impulsively, as if by accident and is a bit shocking.
Janko's score, with its slashing orchestral notes that are reminiscent of Bernard Herrmann suggest a Hitchockian type of obsession that is destructive. However, while it's an eerie depiction of a man in his mid-life with declining health (tellingly, Georges has a never-before-seen spouse who is a bank robber) It's more like a shaggy dog (shaggy-jacket?) story than Hitchcock's intricate psychological excitements.
The point is that it doesn't have an argument: it's just absurd just for the sake of being absurd. Through design, Deerskin isn't for everyone's liking (though at only 77 minutes, it's not too long). However, like Georges with his treasured jacket Dupieux appears to be uninterested that he is a fan of inanimate objects and it's up you to decide whether you're going along for the journey.