Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer
Plot: An idealistic young New York City public defender is burned out by the system and on the brink of disbarment. When he begins seeing signs of the universe collapsing all around him he decides to rob a multi-million drug deal of one of his clients.
Review: Naked Singularity is one of those movies you don’t realise you’re enjoying until you do. I know, sounds weird but I’m pretty certain I’m not the only one who’s ever found themselves watching a movie that starts off pretty bare bones and simplistic to the point where you’re only paying it half of your attention, but somewhere between the likeable cast and the story that seems to be one thing but slowly becomes something else you find yourself completely pulled it.
The film stars John Boyega (Attack the Block, Star Wars Parts VII-IX) as Casi, a young public defender whose big heart and disillusionment for the system he’s forced to work inside of gets him into trouble more often than not. One day he’s requested to defend a past client named Lea (Olivia Cooke from Ready Player One, Sound of Metal) who has gotten herself in trouble once more but this time with possibly deadly consequences due to her relationship with small-time drug dealer Craig (Ed Skrein of Deadpool, Game of Thrones). He wants her to use her job at the police impound lot to get a car out for him that has millions of dollars of drugs hidden inside it. Casi with the help of his slimy but loveable friend Dane (Bill Skarsgård of It Chapters 1 & 2) devises a plan to steal the car for themselves and hopefully not get killed in the process.
Now I know this synopsis makes it sound like a comedy heist-type movie but I don’t think this is what first time director and screenwriter Chase Palmer is going for. As a whole Naked Singularity is more wish fulfillment than anything else. It’s about those dreams we have for a better life, if we had the money and the means to make them happen. Some of these characters like Dane and Lea want better lives for themselves, while Boyega’s character Casi wants the chance to finally give the poor and downtrodden people he represents in court a real shot at fair justice.
Take for instance Casi’s first case. He has to represent a Chinese man who doesn’t speak any English and he’s been detained for selling (of all things) batteries illegally. We’re not talking car batteries here, but simply the Duracell/Energizer ones. Because he doesn’t speak the language this poor man doesn’t know how to defend himself. Add to this a very apathetic judge played by Linda Lavin (The Good Wife/Alice), who seems more focused on clearing her case docket than being fair, and he’s kept in jail seemingly indefinitely. It’s a case that’s as ridiculous as it is sadly true. And due to Boyega’s solid performance the frustration and tiredness his character feels about this lopsided justice system will resonate with you the viewer.
The first and second acts of this movie play almost like a straight-up drama and sadly this may be to the movie’s detriment. For those going in expecting Lucky Logan or Ocean’s 11, or some type of sci-fi action I think they will be disappointed and possibly turned off. The slow unfolding of events may allow for the characters to grow on you, but it also takes away from the energy needed to keep viewers invested. Thankfully Boyega anchors the movie well and you can tell his co-stars are feeding off what he’s putting out. Skarsgård is having an absolute ball playing this amoral character and Cooke disappears into her role. Very well done.
It might not be enough for most, but for me Naked Singularity sticks the landing and delivers the kind of wish fulfillment ending that makes watching movies worthwhile. The title may sound like science fiction but the cosmic notion of one world where the good guys win is something we can all get behind. And for that alone I’m recommending giving this one a go.
Sommer’s Score: 6 out of 10
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Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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