Starring: KJ Apa, Sofia Carson, Craig Robinson
Director: Adam Mason
Running Time: 90 mins
Songbird is an American film about Los Angeles in a near future where the city has been ravaged by the deadly Covid-23 virus, leaving just a handful of immune people out on the streets while the rest of the population lives under the authoritarian regime of the Department of Sanitation.
It was inevitable that we were going to get a coronavirus movie before the year was out, and I’m delighted that Songbird was the one to pick up the bill. With an imaginative and enjoyably ludicrous take on the events of 2020, this is a thoroughly entertaining disaster movie from start to finish.
Of course, having been produced at the height of strictly imposed lockdowns in Los Angeles, Songbird has certain limitations that are evident when you watch it. For the most part, it’s a fast-paced blockbuster, but it does often feel a little disjointed, focusing on the lives of a few different people all living in separate houses.
The screenplay does tie it all together nicely in the latter stages, so it’s fair to say that this movie has done a really great job considering the conditions it was made under.
The best thing about Songbird is without doubt its brilliantly imaginative blend of the events of the year gone by and a (hopefully) more ludicrous view of the near future. In times past, we would have derided the movie’s portrayal of authoritarianism as pure dystopian fantasy, but it actually does a good job at making some relevant points to what we’ve all been through.
With its heart fully in the right place, Songbird creates an almost hilariously apocalyptic duration situation while taking a sobering look at just how quickly a society still recognisable to us can deteriorate beyond the point of no return. The movie isn’t there to change the world, but it’s an imaginative and potentially cautionary tale of a worst-case scenario.
Beyond purely relating to the coronavirus, however, Songbird manages to tell its own thoroughly entertaining story. While it’s set against a fairly ridiculous backdrop, the movie has some engaging emotional depth, convincingly building a central romance between a woman stuck in her apartment and a man who roams the streets freely owing to immunity to Covid-23.
It’s a very simple story, but it throws up some exciting action sequences as we follow our main man racing against the clock to save his love from the wrath of the Department of Sanitation, while also gradually but effectively bringing all of the different characters together towards the end.
There are moments where the movie doesn’t feel like it’s going anywhere – a potential symptom of having been produced in lockdowns – but there are also some genuinely heart-racing sequences that make Songbird an enormously entertaining blockbuster.
And in the end, that’s what really matters about this movie. Yes, it’s very simple on the surface, and it gives what we can only hope is a ludicrous view of the near future, but there’s genuinely fun, exciting action at play, as well as an imaginative take on real world events and even a few sobering and serious points to many. So, that’s why I’m giving Songbird a 7.5 overall.