If the name Quentin Dupieux rings a bell with you it may well be for his film Rubber, a monster movie in which the monster is a murderous tire. Deerskin doesn’t have any killer tires, but it does have a talking jacket.
Georges’ (Jean Dujardin, The Artist, OSS 117: From Africa with Love) marriage is in trouble, so he decides to indulge in some retail therapy. In this case, that means clogging a gas station toilet with a corduroy jacket. And then taking a long road trip to the middle of nowhere to buy a second-hand deerskin jacket. The seller even throws in a digital camcorder as a bonus.
In the hotel bar, he sees Denise (Adèle Haenel, Heroes Don’t Die, the Forbidden Room) and tells her he’s a filmmaker. This lie sets off a chain of events that will end in the murder of both humans and jackets. Trying to describe it would probably make it sound a lot less amusing than it really is as well as spoiling a lot of it. I’ll just say it involves everything from a mute boy to a weaponized ceiling fan blade
It might not be quite as strange as a killer tire, or as overall WTF as Sons of Steel, but Deerskin is a truly bizarre film nonetheless. Dupieux has made a messy black comedy that leaves sanity behind even before the jacket sends Georges on a mission to destroy every other jacket in existence.
What makes the film are the performances by the two leads. Dujardin, who won an Oscar for The Artist, is as convincing and funny as the obviously insane Georges. He also provides the voice of the jacket and frequently gets to have amusing conversations with himself. For her part, Haenel is great as the waitress/editor who becomes as obsessed with his film as he is. It’s their willingness to totally investing their roles and make the characters believable that let me believe the plot.
Obviously Deerskin isn’t a film for viewers who need a conventional plot and film structure. Or a script that makes any sense. And it had a couple of moments that made me roll my eyes. But if you can deal with the weirdness you should get a good laugh out of it. And if you do make it to the end, there’s a mid-credits sequence you’ll want to catch as well.