The year is 2024, and the pandemic continues to cause havoc around the world. Now known as COVID23, the death toll has skyrocketed up to 8,400,010 in 2024 alone. This newest COVID strain causes more harm, and the virus can now attack brain tissue. Life for many is worse than any apocalypse. Visitors are not allowed at home, and tests and treatments to find a cure continue. Thanks to technology, virus checks can now be conducted at home without the requirement of a doctor.
After a general introduction to the world and its current status, we are introduced to a young man named Nico (K. J. Apa), who is somehow immune to the airborne virus. Nico spends his days working as a courier riding a bicycle conducting parcel pick ups and drop-offs. Nico also enjoys calling in and visiting a young girl named Sara (Sofia Carson). While Nico can’t visit her face to face, it’s pretty apparent the two are completely smitten with each other romantically.
Songbird introduces many other characters who are also in lockdown and attempting to cope with the world’s current state. But things get even worse when Sara’s grandmother, who lives with her, begins to fall sick. The sanitation department hears word of this and knocks on her door. This department are the film’s bad guys who are always ruthless and uncaring towards others. Nico receives word about Sara’s grandmother and rides over to her home, wanting to do whatever he can to protect the love of his life and hopefully save her from the nasty and cruel sanitation department.
Visually, Songbird is quite pleasing. It’s a great looking film, and it’s certainly filled with some highly creative moments when it comes to tech and the general look of the new apocalypse world (thanks to the nasty COVID23 virus). The film’s musical score is a gentle one, and at times, I thought it felt fitting when the film attempted to bring emotions to the screen.
But visual and sound aside, Songbird is an uninteresting film, and it isn’t exciting. The film’s best outline is a love story that tries to recreate a Romeo and Juliet vibe that I liked at the start. However, our leads have no depth or character backstory, meaning it’s hard to care for them. What’s even more challenging is that film also forces its audience to follow the many other side characters. None of these characters held my interest or gave me any reason to care for them. This film is trying its very best to get us to sympathise with these characters, but none of them worked. I was also amazed how often we could follow a side character and how often their presence had no impact on the main plot. One example of this is when we witness a man leaving the house when he shouldn’t only to have a one-night affair and lie to his wife—again, pointless waste of time.
For some, this film is simply not going to work well right from the start due to its themes surrounding COVID. A film that has been filmed and released during the current pandemic showing a creative future feels somewhat inappropriate to me. For example, as I watched the film and wrote this very review, most of Australia was in lockdown due to Covid. This is a personal emotion that shouldn’t alter the viewing of this film. Still, given the world’s current state, I found it nearly impossible not to, especially when this film has unwise, silly and uninteresting characters.
Overall, sure, I guess a film based on Covid was only a matter of time. At best, the film is a love story, but there’s no character development or reason given for viewers to care. What’s worse is the film is dull and highly forgettable with side characters who are pointless to the main plot. Sure, visually, it can be pleasing and the film has a semi-decent audio track, but this isn’t enough to praise this film to anyone I know. With the majority of Australia in lockdown as I watched this film and wrote this review, it’s impossible not to feel somewhat bugged a little. In the end, I feel it’s doubtful Songbird would make someone’s day better if watched today.