Thursday, April 30, 2020

A very slender and very odd movie

At a mere 117 minutes in length, no one will accuse Deerskin, of trying to overstay its welcome. A darkly hued comic offering from France, Deerskin stars Jean Dujardin (The Artist) as a sour middle-aged man whom we meet while he's driving. Georges's wife evidently gave him the boot and he's on the road. Early on, Dujardin's Georges lets us know he's on a wacky quest: He pulls up at the home of a guy who's trying to sell a heavily fringed deerskin jacket that looks as if it has been gathering dust since the 1960s. Although the jacket is a couple of sizes too small, a delighted Georges buys it. He then checks into a small hotel, where he admires the jacket for its "killer style" and often talks to it. As it happens, the guy who sold Georges the jacket also threw in a video camera, which enables Georges to present himself as a filmmaker. Conveniently, he meets Denise (Adele Haenel), a local bartender who aspires to be a film editor. He persuades her to finance his film. But that's not all. Driven by an absurd and entirely senseless ambition, Georges dreams of eliminating every other jacket in the world. It may take some time, but he wants his deerskin beauty to become the only surviving jacket. Georges begins filming his bizarre attempts to rid the world of jackets -- which eventually turns bloody as Georges's mania blossoms. But, hey, a film still must be made. Denise decides that even without a script, Georges's footage might make a movie. Director Quentin Depieux's drab palette doesn't do much to up the ante of a movie that's as slender as one of the fringes on Georges's beloved jacket. Georges's ignorance about filmmaking can be amusing but Deerskin is too closeted in its oddball conceit to find much by way of meaning.

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