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  • Gareth Crook

Society of the Snow (2023) - 8/10

There’s a film about the Uruguayan rugby team crash landing in the Andes in the 70s. Alive. It’s very good. Do we need another film telling the story? Well for starters this is all in Spanish, which makes it feel more authentic and there’s more build up and back story. We get to know the players a little bit more, but still it doesn’t wait too long to board the plane. They’re off to play a match in Santiago. Taking off from Uruguay, the weather is good, the colours are vibrant. It looks beautiful. Everyone’s happy. Excited. Smiling. Adventure awaits. Just not the one expected. They’re kids on a plane. Jovial, having fun, until they’re not. Do not watch this if you’re due to fly soon. It is absolutely terrifying. The crash sequence is viseral. Chaotic. Flesh and metal twisted together. Blood. Bone. Panic. It’s honestly a blessing to be killed rather than survive. Some do though of course and set out on an unimaginable hell. The night hits, the temperatures drop, how on earth do you comprehend the pain and anguish they endure. We can’t of course, but Society of the Snow does help to give us a sense, at least visually even if we can’t truly understand the hellish madness. Numa (Enzo Vogrincic) is our guide. He narrates. Giving us some inner insight, seeing how his team mates are reacting, the ones with hope, the ones already without, but to be honest this is such a stark story, it’s impossible not to be pulled in by every deepening twist. They try to organise. Care for the wounded. Respect the dead. Conserve food. Wait for rescue. For all the horror, it’s beautifully shot. The widescreen ratio accentuating the snowy mountain vista. Airplanes tease them in the distance, mere dots in the sky as the engine noise cascades around the mountain peaks. They’re inventive it must be said. Nothing wasted, stripping what’s left of the plane to make things as comfortable as possible. It is not comfortable. How long can you go without food? How long can you survive. If you don’t know this story then I won’t spoil it, but they go to some extremes, wrestle with moral questions than test their faith and humanity. It digs deeper than Alive. That film is not an easy watch, but the depths here are cavernous as fractions appear and splits occur. Marcelo (Diego Vegezzi) retains hope, talks of its importance as they others lose it. His faith part of his identity, but can that alone sustain you in such conditions. Adolfo (Esteban Kukuriczka) and Roberto (Matías Recalt) are more willing to embrace practical horrors. You can feel the cold. Sense the anguish. With each ray of hope extinguished, they hit new lows. It’s utterly brutal. Yet this is not a woe is me story of defeat. Quite the opposite. It’s the story of people who refuse to give up. Go to unfathomable lengths to keep going. You’ll watch most of this with your teeth clenched. It doesn’t deviate from the Alive timeline, why would it, but with a longer duration, uses the opportunity to flesh things out, so to speak. Both are great films, this one though, I think is amazing. It feels more rounded, more personal. Helped by the incredible end scenes that will have you smiling through the tears.


8/10


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