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Songbird (15)

Cast: Craig Robinson, Sofia Carson, KJ Apa, Peter Stormare, Bradley Whitford, Demi Moore
Genre: Thriller
Author(s): Simon Boyes, Adam Mason
Director: Adam Mason
Release Date: 11/12/2020
Running Time: 90mins
Country: US
Year: 2020

In the years since coronavirus swept the globe, the virus has repeatedly mutated. The fourth airborne strain, Covid-23, is the deadliest yet. Citizens are ordered to stay indoors to avoid infection. Former paralegal Nico has immunity and is allowed outside during daylight hours to work as a bicycle courier. He delivers parcels to earn enough money to run away with his girlfriend Sara, who he has never been able to touch for fear of transferring the deadly contagion.


 

LondonNet Film Review
Songbird (15)

There is a perverse pleasure in watching director Adam Mason’s dystopian thriller as the NHS begins administering the large-scale vaccination programme to protect against Covid-19. Songbird is a breathless tour of 2024 Los Angeles under martial law, which is in the grip of an airborne strain of coronavirus. The fortunate few with immunity wear yellow medical bracelets encoded with personal data, which allow safe passage through manned checkpoints. The Munies, as they are known, are revered and reviled in equal measure, impervious to an invisible assassin that can kill in under 48 hours. “We’re not human anymore. We’re gods!” bellows one…

Mason’s script, co-written by Simon Boyes, neglects to answer fundamental questions about the logistics of survival in this nightmare scenario. Power, water supplies and broadband are seemingly uninterrupted and everyone appears to be well stocked with provisions even though roads and skies are deserted of flotillas of home delivery vehicles. Instead, the film focuses on a disparate cross-section of hastily sketched characters, whose fates intersect on the hunt for precious yellow bracelets, which can be “acquired” on the black market for 150,000 dollars. Freedom has a six-figure price tag.

In the years since coronavirus emerged, it has mutated. The fourth airborne strain, Covid-23, is the deadliest yet, accounting for more than 110 million deaths worldwide. Citizens are ordered to stay indoors permanently to avoid infection. A morning temperature check on mobile devices identifies anyone with a fever, who is dragged unceremoniously from their home by Hazmat-suited agents and deposited in quarantine camps known as Q-Zones. Former paralegal Nico (KJ Apa) has immunity and is allowed outside during daylight hours to work as a bicycle courier for company boss Lester (Craig Robinson), who tracks riders using GPS and covert surveillance performed by his drone expert, Dozer (Paul Walter Hauser).

Nico dreams of running away to the Big Sur coastline with his girlfriend Sara (Sofia Carson), who he has never been able to touch. When a daily temperature check puts Sara in jeopardy, Nico races against the clock to engineer their escape, ensnaring him in the tangled webs of sadistic Department of Sanitation boss Harland (Peter Stormare) and wealthy couple William and Piper Griffin (Bradley Whitford, Demi Moore).

Shot largely at street level, Songbird cranks up dramatic tension once gun-toting marshals arrive outside Sara’s apartment. Apa is a likeable and sympathetic hero, showcasing an impressively ripped physique to give him a fighting chance against competing dark forces in a fallen metropolis where “disobedience is spreading like a tornado”. The central premise isn’t too far removed from chilling reality although the most grimly compelling aspect of the narrative – the detainees of “barbaric” Q-Zones with Let Us Out!!! graffitied on one hulking containment wall – are merely teased in newsreel footage and aerial shots. Out of sight but not out of mind, like the virus.

– Jo Planter


London Cinemas Showing Songbird


From: Friday 9th April
To: Thursday 15th April

No cinema infomation at the moment

From: Friday 16th April
To: Thursday 22nd April

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UK and Irish Cinemas Showing Songbird


From: Friday 9th April
To: Thursday 15th April

No cinema infomation at the moment

From: Friday 16th April
To: Thursday 22nd April

No cinema infomation at the moment