SONGBIRD (2020) Reviews and overview

  

‘The only way out is together’

Songbird is a 2020 American science-fiction drama set four years into the effects of COVID-23 and those infected are in quarantine camps. An immune courier falls for a young woman on lockdown, whom he can only communicate with through her door.

Directed by Adam Mason from a screenplay co-written by Simon Boyes and Adam Mason, the movie stars KJ Apa, Sofia Carson, Craig Robinson, Bradley Whitford, Peter Stormare, Alexandra Daddario, with Paul Walter Hauser and Demi Moore. Michael Bay was a co-producer.

Plot:

COVID-23 virus has mutated and the world is in its fourth year of lockdown. Infected Americans are ripped from their homes and forced into quarantine camps known as Q-Zones, from which there is no escape, as a few brave souls fight back against the forces of oppression.

Amid this dystopian landscape, a fearless courier, Nico (KJ Apa), who’s immune to the deadly pathogen, finds hope and love with Sara (Sofia Carson), though her lockdown prohibits them from physical contact. When Sara is believed to have become infected, Nico races desperately across the barren streets of Los Angeles in search of the only thing that can save her from imprisonment… or worse.

Sofia Carson stars in SONGBIRD (2020)

A wealthy couple (Bradley Whitford and Demi Moore) may hold the key to Nico’s mission; Alexandra Daddario plays a singer enmeshed in a messy and forbidden affair; Paul Walter Hauser plays a disabled veteran whose best friend – a drone named Max – is his eyes and ears to a world that has left him behind; Craig Robinson as Nico’s boss; and Peter Stormare as the corrupt head of the city’s “sanitation” department, which seizes those infected and transports them to the Q-Zone.

Release:

Songbird was released on VOD on December 11th 2020. Blu-ray + Digital and DVD releases will be released on March 16, 2021. Special features:

Audio commentary by director/co-writer Adam Mason and co-writer Simon Boyes
The Story of Songbird featurette
Deleted scenes with commentary by director/co-writer Adam Mason
“Kingdom” music video by Røyale
The Making of “Kingdom”

Reviews:

“Judging a picture like this is tricky, given that it could theoretically play better or worse in non-pandemic times. Without a doubt, sections of the story hit a nerve. At the same time, the real pandemic is obviously more anxiety-producing than a film could ever be. That, along with a couple plotting issues, cause Songbird to yield mixed results.” The Aisle Seat

“Strictly in terms of mindless action thrills, Songbird is technically proficient enough given the constraints […] It’s just lacking in any depth and opts to hold a magnifying glass up to the current climate instead of offering up escapism. It’s clear that Songbird is meant as a cautionary tale, but it’s so clumsy in its messaging that it winds up feeling directionless and glib at best, and exploitive at worst.” Bloody Disgusting

“Seems like the experiment here was to see how quickly they could churn out a boilerplate Hollywood B-movie while using COVID-19 conditions as capital. As a result of winging it, Songbird sports some sloppy camerawork that couldn’t care less about the sun blazing directly into the lens. Digital scrubbing of Los Angeles landscapes makes CGI enhancements obvious…” Culture Crypt

“If we weren’t actually living in a less extreme version of Songbird, would it be more successful as a work of sci-fi? Possibly, though it’s all so poorly conceived that there really isn’t enough to sink our teeth into. Its cynical view of a world that has seemingly just given up the fight against the virus makes it almost impossible to embrace…” The Movie Waffler

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Initial controversy:

Songbird was the first feature film to be made in Los Angeles during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Actors’ union SAG-AFTRA initially issued a “do not work” against Songbird, telling members to refuse any work on the film but rescinded this a day later.

The release of the trailer sparked some negative comments on social media with calls for a boycott of the movie as it plays upon people’s current real fears in an exploitative way.

Filming locations:

Los Angeles, California

Production companies:

Platinum Dunes
Catchlight Films (as Catchlight Studios)
Invisible Narratives
STX Films

Trailer:

YouTube reviews:

YouTube reviews:

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