“Society of Snow” is a Spanish film by Director J. A. Bayona. Inspired by a true story of passengers of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571. The story revolves around the journey of a rugby team that were part of the 45 passengers flying to Chile, but had an accident that left them stranded in a glacier of the Andes mountain range. This mountain range is known for its treacherous climate during the winter season. The remote location of the crash site made it impossible for the survivors to be rescued in due time. The team was stranded after search operations were stopped after 8 days. The movie revolves around what transpired after the crash and how 16 survivors made it out alive after 72 days surviving in the Andes mountain range.
While the story is an inspirational story of survival of the fittest, it is sprinkled with questions and doubts about the good and bad decision people make. The direction in which these scene are shown is a masterpiece and keeps the viewers glued to the screen. One of the best directed scenes include the moment when the plan crashes and comes to a halt after sliding on the mountain at high speed. The way the slow motion captures the passenger movements and bones being cracked really shakes you in that moment. You are no longer a viewer but someone present right there. Another scene that is beautifully shot is the one where the survivors are sharing impromptu poems to entertain themselves and all of a sudden a moment of joy and laughter is overshadowed by a roaring voice of an avalanche and all of a sudden everyone is beneath a thick sheet of snow. It is these waves of emotions that the movie really masters. You feel the decisions are yours to make. The movie shows the hard decisions the survivors needed to make and while you watch it. You are not placed on a pedestal watching people make decisions. You are among them. You understand and to an extent feel the pain (living in Fargo, ND. I know what a snow storm feels like).
Over time, the survivors try multiple attempts to escape the crash site and go towards Chile, but to their loss. The cold weather never permits them to move long enough and eventually all their plans fail. Until two passengers with much determination decide to take a 10-day journey that eventually leads to their rescue.
This movie does a fantastic job of questioning the norms set by religion and society and puts you in a place where you are left with a question of, if you should follow the norms when it comes to your lives. The best part is, you are not left judging the characters but throughout the movie you find yourself taking those decisions to survive.
With so many movies available to us for free, watching movies is becoming more and more mundane. But Society of Snow is unlike any other. It is a must watch if you like adventure.