Songbird has the distinction of being the first pandemic-made film to make it through production and to release. It also has the distinction of not being very good as the intrigue of a pandemic-related film quickly fades and the lackluster story plays out.
The anxiety-inducing premise of the film is that four years from now, COVID-19 has mutated into COVID-23 and the world is in shambles. While just about everyone is quarantined and it is illegal to leave the house, some (like K.J. Apa’s character) are immune and free to roam. When a young man (Apa) falls for a young woman on his delivery route (Sofia Carson), he races against time to save her after she is exposed and before she is thrown into the Q-Zone and likely never heard from again. Songbird sadly doesn’t do anything new in this “world is ending and we’re all doomed” film, instead it builds a lackluster story around a timely topic (driven to the extreme) and an uninteresting budding romance. Throw in devious plans by Bradley Whitford’s character and his wife, played by Demi Moore, plus a strange subplot with a musician streaming online, and you have a lot of ideas that never come together into a cohesive story. Everyone happens to be running in the same or connected circles, but leaps in logic and the omittance of information makes for some confusion. Though the foundational elements are there for a worthwhile story to be told, Songbird revels in simplicity and unexplored leads.
The fact that the film was even able to be made is a feat in and of itself, so kudos to producer Michael bay, director Adam mason, and everyone else involved. Unfortunately, the script seems like something I would come up with when I’m a few drinks deep, tell everyone about, and then wake up the next morning mad that I made the commitment. A cast like this deserves better. Craig Robinson deserves better, Alexandra Daddario deserves better, Paul Walter Houser deserves better… everyone does. While the soundtrack is rather inspired, dare I say… Songbird simply does not sing.
Songbird is available on VOD tomorrow, December 11th, 2020.
Photo from SlashFilm