Society of the Snow (2023)

Society of the Snow (2023)

J.A. Bayona remembers the humanity, not the sensationalism, of the Andes miracle

The Very Best

8.2

Movie

Spain, United States of America
Spanish
Drama, History
2023
J.A. BAYONA
Agustín Berruti, Agustín Della Corte, Agustín Lain
144 min

TLDR

Planes, it’s been nice knowing you.

What it's about

In 1972, a plane carrying a Uruguayan rugby team crashed into the heart of the Andes. The remaining passengers do what they can to survive one of the most hostile environments on the planet.

The take

Real life tragedies, especially one that's as sensationalized as the Miracle in the Andes, can be tough to depict on screen. On one hand, the film has to keep true to the story but also maintain some form of spectacle to keep people watching. Past depictions of the 1972 crash are preoccupied with the cannibalism portrayed by big name actors, but Society of the Snow takes a different route. The actors are newcomers, the threats to their lives don't require daring action stunts, and the cannibalism is limited to small chunks indistinguishable from animal meat. Instead, the spectacle of Society of the Snow is the human spirit– the vulnerability, the respect, and the generosity they've given each other in order to survive. It’s still an uncomfortable watch, especially since we get to know some of the survivors before the crash, but it’s definitely a transcendent addition to the genre dedicated to the miracle of existence.

What stands out

Society of the Snow has all the survival thriller hallmarks, but the way writer-director J.A. Bayona approaches the real life plane crash makes the story feel compelling. Part of it is due to a dedication to historical accuracy– the film itself is based on the book of the same name, whose author actually knew the survivors before the crash, and the names of every passenger were allowed to be used for the first time. But ultimately, what makes the film fly is the respect it has for the humanity of the passengers, even when pushed to inhumane actions. It cares about them. It doesn’t try to sensationalize the cannibalism, which happened the moment the media took a hold of their stories. This sets Society of the Snow apart from other survival films based on true stories, and even other adaptations depicting the same tragedy.

Comments

Add a comment

UP NEXT 

UP NEXT 

UP NEXT 

Falling in Love Like in Movies (2023)

A contemplative Indonesian romance film that rewrites and re-examines the genre’s conventions

8.4

River (2023)

A delightful and ultimately life-affirming Japanese time loop comedy clearly made with love

8.8

Fruitvale Station (2013)

Compassionate filmmaking reconstructing a 24-hour police brutality story – with a stunning lead by Michael B. Jordan

9.7

The Wolf House (2018)

A bone-chilling fairy-tale, as mortifying as it is breathtaking

7.9

Familia (2023)

A tense and confrontational family gathering in an idyllic Mexican olive ranch

7.0

Holy Spider (2022)

A timely and terrifying noir that takes on systemic abuse and corruption in Iran

8.0

A Better Life (2011)

The illegal immigrant experience, portrayed with heart

7.6

Elena Knows (2023)

A moving mother-daughter drama based on a Booker Prize shortlist novel

7.5

The Kings of the World (2022)

A knife-sharp account of five kids' journey to land restitution and self-determination

8.4

I Don’t Expect Anyone to Believe Me (2023)

An eccentric Mexican crime thriller adaptation for the eccentric, satirical novel

7.0

Curated by humans, not algorithms.

agmtw logo

© 2024 agoodmovietowatch, all rights reserved.