Society of the Snow | Review by: Benjamin Garett


Society of the Snow masterfully captures the harrowing true story of the 1972 Uruguayan plane crash, that left 27 survivors stranded in the heart of the Andes.  It’s a bleak, brutal and occasionally hopeful survival thriller that ranks among the year’s very best. 

Director J.A. Bayona is no stranger to the disaster/survival genre, as he broke onto the North American film scene with ‘The Impossible’ back in 2012. He once again excels in conveying the scope and gravity of such a dire situation, never shying away from the harsh realities faced by the survivors. This film doesn’t hold back in its depiction of the events that transpired. From the horrific crash sequence to the lengths these men and women were forced to go to in order to survive, there’s no Hollywood sugar coating to be found here. 

The technical craftsmanship throughout the film is stunning. The aforementioned crash sequence is among the most graphic ever put to film, and there are some other sequences that’ll have you squirming in your seat - especially if you’re claustrophobic. This is some of the finest cinematography of the year, and although this is far from being a pleasant true story, the movie is visually arresting. The frigid, snow capped hellscape is captured in a way that truly gives you a sense of helpless isolation. The use of wide lensing works gorgeously in conveying the massive scale of the mountains, and the cramped interior of the wreckage. 

The film is long, but every detail is necessary in recounting these unbelievable events. Even at nearly two and a half hours long, there isn’t enough time to develop each of the survivors. However, most of them are given enough emotional stakes to allow you to care about their fight for survival. There’s narration from one of the survivors, used fittingly and tastefully from time to time. It works to convey important information, but also acts as a beautiful tribute for those who lived, and the ones who lost their lives. 

Society of the Snow is remarkable. J.A. Bayona has managed to tell an extraordinary true story, without sacrificing any of its bleakness or hopefulness. Not only is this one of 2023’s best films, but it sits among the greatest survival movies I’ve ever seen. 


Review by: Benjamin Garrett

Popular Posts