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Film Review: SOCIETY OF THE SNOW (2023): J.A. Bayona Creates a Striking and Compelling Tale of Survival Against the Odds

Enzo Vogrincic Society Of The Snow

Society of the Snow Review

Society of the Snow (2023) Film Review, a movie directed by J.A. Bayona, written by Jaime Marques, Nicolas Casariego and J.A. Bayona and starring Enzo Vogrincic, Simon Hempe, Rafael Federman, Andy Pruss, Matias Recalt, Santiago Vaca Narvaja and Agustin Pardella.

Filmmaker J.A. Bayona creates an intense portrait of survival with the dramatic new Spanish film, Society of the Snow. Bayona’s movie is, at times, hard to sit through because of the unnerving tension surrounding its premise. A crew of passengers who survive a plane crash are forced to confront ridiculously low temperatures and other deadly weather conditions that are almost unbearable in their excesses. Through their will to live, those involved must go to the depths of the unthinkable in order to stay alive.

Bayona’s cast of main characters is full of personable young men who the audience will be with every step of the way. This film flashes the names and ages of certain individuals who appear on-screen to remind us of how youthful they were at the time of this historic disaster. Not every character will make it through the despair that was endured by the survivors of this devastating crash that happened back in 1972.

This group of people struggling to stay alive were connected through their involvement on a rugby team. The opening scenes establish the characters and the motivations for boarding the ill-fated plane which would crash in the Andes and lead to several eventual deaths among those lucky ones who managed to stay alive by fighting mother nature for their very existence.

This film is narrated by a young man named Numa (Enzo Vogrincic), a law student who serves as the voice of reason within the picture. Though this narration device occasionally feels a bit too full of unnecessary commentary regarding the events of the movie, it ultimately winds up being an effective way to communicate the main themes associated with the film’s premise. 

While the initial crash scene itself is realistic, it proves to be a difficult sequence to watch in a film full of gruesome and horrifying scenarios. Eventually, our crew of survivors must succumb to eating humans to stay alive as they bond while in shelter. There are times in which the brutality of the wind and snow put our heroes in terrifying situations which can feel nerve-wracking and the forceful intensity of the snow hits the characters with great intensity. Buried in the snow, our characters must maneuver themselves above the snow and ice to salvage themselves and help save their fellow survivors from almost certain death.

When the weather improves, two of our heroes (well played by Agustin Pardella and Matias Recalt) ultimately join forces to move through the territory to seek help in the latter stages of the movie. Unfortunately, Pardella’s character’s sister passes away from the brutal force of a major event that occurs in the picture. This movie rests on the interaction between its characters who join forces to try to survive against all odds. One character even gives permission for himself to be eaten should the circumstance where it is necessary arise.

Society of the Snow is a technically marvelous accomplishment. This film’s hopeful and forceful score by Michael Giacchino helps propel the action forward and makes the viewer care about those people whose lives hang in the balance. The ability of the story to maintain the audience’s attention is impressive even if one is aware from the outset of the number of survivors who will actually make it out alive in the end.

This story was filmed before in the 1993 movie, Alive, which featured Ethan Hawke. That was about thirty years ago and wasn’t as proficient a movie as Society of the Snow although it was a pretty good film. Society of the Snow is a movie of epic scope from a technical standpoint but could have benefited from some of the character development that helped drive Alive.

Enzo Vogrincic’s performance is among the better ones in the new film although the whole cast doesn’t really feature any bad performances. It’s hard to develop characters under the circumstances they were facing in the plot of this movie and that’s completely understandable. Viewers can, without a doubt, grasp the sense of horror and uncertainty that key characters were feeling in certain key instances in the new picture.

It is also worth noting that Society of the Snow is so dramatically tense that it feels documentary-like in terms of the vivid nature of the brutal weather conditions which were endured by the survivors. This is probably as close viewers can come to the material as possible. The authenticity factor of the movie is certainly commendable.

Society of the Snow could find its way into the Oscar race for Best International Film and/or Best Original Score. It’s a movie filled with harrowing situations that become so intense that they could cause viewers’ hearts to race. From its dramatic structure, it’s obvious that this isn’t meant to be solely a character-driven movie. Instead, it’s a movie driven by the quest for humans to save themselves from the vicious forces of nature that exist in isolated parts of the world. The fact that our participants here had to endure the conditions which were necessary for their survival make them true heroes and this movie is a testament to their persistence and bravery.

Rating: 8/10

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