societyofthesnow

Society of the Snow Review

Featuring: Enzo Vogrincic, Agustín Pardella, Matías Recait, Esteban Bigliardi, Diego Vegezzi, Fernando Contigiani García, Esteban Kukuriczka, Rafael Federman, Francisco Romero, Valentino Alonso, Tomás Wolf, Agustín Della Corte, Felipe Otanño, Andy Pruss, Blas Polidori, Felipe Ramusio, Simón Hempe

Genre: Adventure, Drama, History, Thriller

Director: J.A. Bayona

In Cinemas: Now

Streaming on Netflix: 4th January 2024

 

In 1972, Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571, which had been chartered to fly a rugby team to Chile, crashed in the heart of the Andes. Only 29 of its 45 passengers survived the accident. Trapped in one of the most hostile and inaccessible environments on the planet, they have to resort to extreme measures to stay alive.

Society of the Snow, translated from the Original title ‘La Sociedad de la nieve’, is the fifth film from J.A. Bayona. Following on from his previous work, including El Orfanato (2007), The Impossible (2012), A Monster Calls (2016) and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018). His latest True Story offering has been causing quite a buzz around award season, having already been selected as the Spanish entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 96th Academy Awards and, more recently, has been nominated for Best Non-English Language Film at the 2024 Golden Globes. Society of the Snow has already been made into a film, Alive (1993), Directed by Frank Marshall. It caused controversy when it was initially released in the early nineties, as it dealt with cannibalism issues, which would be the primary extract to be taken from the events that this film eventually led up to. Having prior knowledge from Alive (1993) and news reports and articles, there is an expectation and harrowing arrival point in the film where the survivors begin to eat the flesh of their deceased friends and family. It felt a little tedious during the movie when timestamps offered a countdown to the passengers’ devastating decision.

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Although the film boasts this incredible energy, in parts, it decreases, which feels exhausting. But doing so creates a required connection to the characters, who are first-time actors and give incredible performances. When there are moments of slow-paced scenarios where nothing happens, it is almost like it is done on purpose. As if to provide the audience with a sense of actuality, what decisions would we make if faced with an accident like this one? But because we spend so much time with these men trying to survive and observing them bond with one another, we gain an emotional attachment to them. The special effects are gripping and captivating, especially during the intense plane crash scene, which occurred because of human error from the pilot. During poor weather conditions and visibility, he miscalculates and mistakes the destination to be closer than it is and starts to descend the plane. When the realisation is noticed, it is too late to escape the situation as they are faced head-on with mountain peaks, ripping the plane apart. This information is so detailed and precise that you become invested more in the story and more tuned in to the subsequent events.

The aftermath of the crash then focuses on the group of people, which really and beautifully orchestrates the elements of grievance and realism from the character’s perspective. There are these upsetting and affective parts where we see the passengers discovering the faith of their loved ones. When the conversation about eating the dead bodies is eventually discussed, it is treated in a practical and tasteful approach. There are lengthy and passionate speeches from certain characters about giving their consent for offering their bodies as food in the event they die. There is always this hope of survival from the passengers that they will get some release from being stranded in the snow trapped andes for nearly two months. We get on board with them, and as the devastating outcomes happen, we almost feel the same disappointment and pain. The film visually looks spectacular, and cinematographer Pedro Luque can utilise and maximise the aesthetics during moments of limitations. Overall, the movie shines bright In the achievements of great acting and visual effects. Unfortunately, the nature and tragedy of real-life story films like Society of the Snow make us want to know the core and critical details of the event. When the film drifts from this, it becomes a bit unwarranted and not engaging.

Overall: 7/10

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