Quentin Dupieux has been a divisive director. His brand of absurdist horror has garnered as many fans as haters. His first film, Rubber, was about killer car tire that rolled along murdering people. It was a film of vision if not one of substance. His newest film, Deerskin, is also about a killer but the killer is a man.
That difference allows Dupieux that ability to explore character development, something missing from his previous efforts. The result is a twisted black comedy. The man at the center is Georges, played by Jean Dujardin from The Artist. He plays a newly divorced man that buys a deerskin jacket that begins talking to him and unlocks his darkest impulses. The absurdity of Rubber is here but funneled through a great performance by Dujardin. Dujardin has real comic timing, able to play the part straight while understanding where the laughs can come.
The jacket doesn't really fit Georges. He doesn't care because it must fit, it gives him a "killer style." Georges overpays for it and gets a digital camcorder in the deal. He then begins posing as a filmmaker, even convincing Denise (Adele Haenel). Denise is a bartender but wants to be an editor. The two strike a unique relationship. As George begins filming his quest to rid the world of jackets so that he can have the only one, she edits the footage of the murders and seems okay with it. Haenel is one of the most interesting actresses right now and she plays Denise with many layers. You never really buy that she has fallen for Georges' lies but you can't tell what her game is.
Deerskin is weird but also funny and memorable. The two leads really elevate the content, adding unwritten depth to their characters. At a scant 77 minutes, the film does everything it sets out to do without much filler. I haven't always been convinced of Dupieux talents. He often seems to have a killer idea but no execution. Here the two combine into what will surely be one of the most original films of the year.