Like Neil Jordan's The Butcher Boy, albeit without the lashings of black humour, Claude Miller's Class Trip burrows into the depths of a seriously disturbed young mind.
Nicholas (Van Den Bergh) is a frail-looking, withdrawn boy who's driven to the Alps for a school skiing trip by his over-protective father (Roy). Isolated from most of his peers, Nicholas falls prey to a series of terrifying nightmares and violent fantasies in which he envisages his father's gruesome death, his own funeral and the abduction of his brother by black-market organ-traffickers. His ineffectual teachers attempt to cheer him up, but through the TV news, they learn the shocking truth about his father...
This sombre adaptation of Emmanuel Carrère's novel flies thick with the fairytale allusions while avoiding facile explanations for its protagonist's mental state, leaving the possibility of sexual abuse to lie in the viewer's imagination. Yet while the initial scenes convey a sense of foreboding, the material becomes increasingly repetitive and offers few dramatic surprises. Nevertheless, it's acted and photo-graphed with aplomb, and Miller convincingly conveys the inability of adults to communicate with psychologically distressed children.
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