Very spoilery. Check out the ending below, or scroll down for a fuller explanation and plot details. (My 4/5 review is here.)
In Deerskin, every loan that Georges accepts from Denise is followed by the purchase of another item of clothing made of 100% deerskin. It’s as if — as well as shaping his film with her editing skills and cool eye — she is also unwittingly rebuilding him into a new creature, as he leaves his old life behind. Both of them start wearing clothes that are brown or beige, the camouflage colours of a deer (maybe this explains how they are never caught?) At the very end it turns out his role is a persona that can be passed on, like an aged stag replaced by a younger version. In the final scenes he’s shot dead in the countryside by the father of the teenage boy he had attacked with a brick in the town. With Georges dead, Denise, clad in brown, simply takes off his jacket and puts it on, filming herself all the time. The show, and film, must go on!
Throughout the film Georges is short of money. His bank card has been stopped, by his ex-wife it turns out, after he withdrew that 7500 Euros to pay for his jacket. He’s reduced to leaving his wedding ring as collateral at the hotel reception and eating out of bins, but he doesn’t care.
When he befriends Denise in the hotel bar he pretends he’s a movie big shot, and that his producers are stuck in Siberia.
Once Georges and his jacket are ensconced in the hotel room, the jacket starts sharing its feelings with Georges, first with Georges speaking for him and later speaking for itself. The jacket’s greatest dream is to be the only jacket in the world. Luckily Georges’s dream is to be “the only person in the world to wear a jacket,” so at least they’re compatible.
The hotel receptionist kills himself. Georges goes to the room where the man is laid out to steal back his gold wedding ring, and while in there also steals the dead man’s 100% deerskin hat.
He offers Denise the job of film editor, but demands she take off her jacket. She loans him 500 Euros, and he buys a pair of hideous deerskin boots in a shop.
His filming starts off with tricking young actors into performing a scene where they put their coats into the boot of his car while swearing they will never wear a jacket again. Then Georges drives off with their coats.
He’s being followed boy a young teen around the town, so he throws a brick at the boy which hits him on the head.
Having seen the early footage, Denise considers his film to be a rockumentary. She can now only give him a bit more money which angers him (by now her card too has been blocked).
Georges takes down the ceiling fan in his room and uses a sharpened fan blade as a weapon. That night, he approaches two teenagers outside, kills them and steals their jackets.
Denise is shocked but pleased at the footage when she sees it: this is another level.
The next day, when she visits him she has to remove her latest jacket. She has a got an advance from her boss, and George uses it to buy some 100% deerskin trousers. She demands “more action, more blood”, and he starts killing again, wearing plastic overalls over his jacket. He kills several people in town for their jackets, then murders a hotel guest too. He also books a digger to dig a huge hole then leave, no questions asked. He fills the hole with jackets. (All of this is filmed by him.)
Now Denise gives him 50,000 Euros, ironically the takings from the sale of her dad’s butcher’s shop. The money is not for Georges though but for the film, which angers him. She will be producer and editor. He claims his producers have all died in Siberia. She queries this and tells him she’s known since they first met that he’s been bullshitting her.
They go to a shop and he buys a pair of 100% deerskin gloves.
He and Denise travel into the countryside, but as she is filming him he is shot dead — his assailant is a local father, and in the man’s truck is his son, the young teen who had been following Georges in the town. The boy has a bandage round his head, where Georges threw a brick at him earlier.
Denise takes the jacket from Georges’s lifeless body, filming herself as she puts it on.
There is a brief mid-credits scene of deer and a stag.
Deerskin is available in the UK on DVD, Blu-ray and on digital from 4 October 2021.
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