Film Review: Songbird (2020)

As far as I know, this film is curently only available on Amazon Prime.
At least that is the only place to find it in the UK.
**No spoilers**

A film about the Covid-19 pandemic, set in the year 2024. When it is now known as ‘Covid-23’.

This is a ‘worst-case scenario’ film, where the virus is not contained, so the people are contained instead. Filmed in a near-future version of Los Angeles, the theme is dark, and so is much of the action. There is an authoritarian government that keeps the population locked down by force, and anyone who shows symptoms of the virus is removed to a ‘Q-Zone’, and left to their fate.

Rich people still manage to beat the system. Buying fake ‘Immunity’ passes, and doing more or less what they like. And there are those that have natural immunity, allowed to work outside delivering parcels, or supervising the military-style teams that enforce the rules. Every person must do a temperature check on their phones by a given time every morning. Show a high temperature, and the removal squads arrive. Fail to register your check in time, and the removal squads arrive.

There is also a new version of ‘track and trace’. Did you talk to your neighbour? Have you been inside their home? If so, we smash your door down and off you go to the Q-zone, like it or not.

But of course, there is romance, albeit a relationship carried out over a very smart smartphone. And there is some hope, in the regions beyond the Q-zone that offer a form of sanctuary.

The film borrows many ideas from those like it. We have seen films set in pandemics before, and films where terrified ordinary people are inside, living in fear of zombies, or repressive governments. The film-makers wisely stayed away from making things too smart or too sci-fi. This is a world we can all recognise, with similar technology that is just slightly beefed up from what we have at the moment.

Casting is very good when it comes to the villains. You will recognise Peter Stormaire as Emmett, the man in charge of the removal squads. Suitably creepy and ruthless. Then the rich crook, Griffin. He is played by Bradley Whitford, who was so good in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. There is a surprisingly mature turn from Demi Moore as Griffin’s wife, conflicted by her desire to protect her sick daughter. But the younger cast members were all new to me.

So, not a great film. Entertaining enough, and certainly as ‘current’ as it gets. It might be the first film about the Coronavirus pandemic, but we can be sure it won’t be the last.

I should mention that I had to watch this film on a 10-inch tablet. I’m sure it looks better on a big screen.

Here’s a trailer.

43 thoughts on “Film Review: Songbird (2020)

  1. I have put it don on my list to have a look, as I have Amazon Prime. Like many other commenters, it’s not top on the list, rather have a feel-good one next time, please. πŸ˜‰

    Best wishes from Cley, it looks rather nice and sunny for tomorrow … Hope you get some sun too for a lovely walk with dear Ollie, please give him a big pat from me.
    Dina & co x

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Nice review, Pete. Very timely. Almost too timely–2024…Yikes! Hard to think about. On a lighter note, Demi Moore was very good in Margin Call (2011), a movie about the Wall Street meltdown of 2008. She made the most of a small role and really put some substance in it. I was pleasantly surprised.
    –Pam

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I really liked her in the 1991 film ‘Mortal Thoughts’. Bruce Willis plays against type as a horrible bad guy. It wasn’t that well-received, which surprised me. I thought it was pretty good. I will look out for ‘Margin Call’. Thanks, Pam.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Your review was fine but did not arouse my interest enough to watch it. I use to love disaster movies. Now I feel like I’m done with them. Too real for me. I’m watching fluffy fun stuff these days. Nothing worth reviewing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I understand that, Cindy. I rarely watch fluffy fun, but ‘Songbird’ is far from being a great film, despite capturing something of the mood of the pandemic.
      Best wishes, Pete. x

      Like

  4. I can’t say I approve of this film Pete. It will only add to the fear and anxiety many people are feeling, and fuel conspiracy theorists’ fears also. Some are already talking about their belief of plans for “camps” where those who don’t want to be vaccinated or test positive will be interred. The film is in bad taste if you ask me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is almost certainly in bad taste, WN. Then again, it wouldn’t be the first time such films have been made. I can think of ‘Logan’s Run’, ‘Soylent Green’, and many more. Film-makers react to disasters, and always have.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ll watch the trailer this afternoon, when I have more time, but this scenario sounds chillingly plausible. I don’t know if it’s a film I’d enjoy watching, to be honest, for obvious reasons. Cheers, Jon.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’ve had this on my radar for a while, but have had enough of the pandemic in real life so have let it pass me by on movie nights. I had read that it was a rush job and suffers a little for that, did you find that or is it quite solid?

    Liked by 4 people

    1. The ending felt rather rushed. I enjoyed the realistic tech stuff though, and the villains. Free on Amazon if you have Prime, and an easy watch, though I wouldn’t pay to see it at a cinema. I could also see something similar to this eventually happening in real life. But it leaves all the ‘economic impact’ questions unanswered.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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