Society of the Snow 2023 Movie Scene Survivors of the plane crash standing next to the wreckage

Society of the Snow AKA La Sociedad de la Nieve [2023]

Sometimes, just sometimes, the hype turns out to be real. Society of the Snow AKA La Sociedad de la Nieve is a gritty and intense survival drama based on bizarre true events you simply need to watch. I should probably end my movie recommendation right here. Mostly because this is one of those movies that’s going to hit you on a personal level. It’s going to leave a mark, that’s for sure, and I’m certain you’re going to remember it for a long time. The same happened back in 1993 when the movie Alive starring Ethan Hawke came out. However, before we go any further, and if you’re still with me and not watching the movie, I should perhaps tell you what this movie is actually about.

Society of the Snow is a movie about the ill-fated Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 and the destinies of its passengers. I think it’s fairly obvious that there was a crash that left the survivors fighting for their lives, high above, in the Andes mountain range. Montaña is a word you’re going to keep hearing over and over in this movie. It represents both metaphorically and very much physically the harshness of survival in nature. Its utter indifference to our woes and its surreal beauty. Our primary objective as humans is to survive. To do that, we have to think, rationalize, and do things we previously didn’t know were possible. 

It’s only logical to reduce the almost surreal nature of these events to a single word, montaña. It’s like you have this, at the same time, an invisible and very visible enemy you’re fighting against. I don’t want to get too philosophical so early on so let’s focus on the technical aspects of this movie. Society of the Snow is directed by J.A. Bayona and this is his second survival movie based on true events. The first one was The Impossible about the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The cast consists of mostly Uruguayan actors who all gave incredible performances. Enzo Vogrincic and Agustín Pardella stood out among them but only because of the amount of their screen time. The others were just as good.

The visuals are simply stunning beginning with that horrific crash. This is the first time I saw a movie airplane crash this realistic and this brutal. It’s quite similar to that infamous first wave of the tsunami in the above-mentioned The Impossible. Finally, Netflix has a true masterpiece and I hope this will encourage them to move in that direction. To ditch these crappy commercial mainstream action comedies they’ve been producing for the past few years and focus on “real movies”. One of the things that I appreciated the most about this movie is the very matter-of-fact approach. There’s no melodrama or anything like that here.

There are no prolonged scenes designed to stir your emotions. However, there are prolonged scenes of intense and very real suffering showing you the true nature of our existence. Some of them will be quite difficult to sit through but at the same time, you won’t be able to look away. Something primal in you will keep telling you to hold it together and get through them. And this whole movie is quite an ordeal as the running time is almost two and a half hours. I bet you’ll even watch the end credits as they feature real pictures and videos from that time. Although I watch a lot of true crime documentaries and stuff like that, even I was emotionally drained after the credits rolled.

I can only imagine how this is going to feel to some of our more sheltered brothers and sisters out there. And yet I feel that this type of experience is necessary. I think that the last movie featuring this type of atmosphere I saw was the 2015 The Revenant. However, just last year, Netflix released another similarly-themed movie, Against the Ice, also based on true events. Finally, I cannot help but mention another 2015 movie, Everest, again based on true events. So, if you’re looking for movies like Society of the Snow, I think these are some fine choices along with Arctic and Ravenous.

That last one might be the best choice as it combines all of the themes explored here and even adds humor to the mix. Additionally, you can always check out our Rabbit Reviews selection of Snow Movies. To switch things up, I must recommend the documentary Touching the Void. It’s just so good that you should play it without thinking about it. Before I started watching Society of the Snow, I was quite intimidated by that two-and-a-half-hour running time. However, after the crash, I was completely captivated by it and finished it in one sitting. 

It’s that good of a movie. And it’s a perfect conversation starter. Moreover, I kept thinking about what would I do in that type of situation. After you’ve seen the movie, I’m sure you’re going to notice one of its themes I didn’t even mention here. The reason for that is simple, I don’t want to detract anything from your initial experience. I’ll just say I give you my permission and that’s it.

Director: J.A. Bayona

Writers: J.A. Bayona, Bernat Vilaplana, Jaime Marques

Cast: Enzo Vogrincic, Agustín Pardella, Matías Recalt, Esteban Bigliardi, Rafael Federman, Andy Pruss

Fun Facts: You can visit the crash site in the Andes if you sign up for a guided tour. They usually go up there each February and there are also alpine tours led by expert climbers.


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