If there’s one thing you learn early on in this malarky; it’s that all the stars in the world does not a good movie make, without a decent script you just get…well…a decent acted bit of nothing.
This brings me onto the latest Sky Original to drop in the UK, Naked Singularity, written by David Matthews (“Boardwalk Empire (TV)”, “Your Honor (TV)”) and Chase Palmer (“Shock and Awe (Short)”, “Neo-Noir (Short)”) who also directs.
It sees public defender Casi, John Boyega (“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”, “Detroit”), working in the public defence system, one of a few who defends the millions put behind bars each year. Casi is fed-up with this system though, the injustice he sees in it, that keeps happening to the people he defends.
One day Lea is visited by the enigmatic Craig, Ed Skrein (“Alita: Battle Angel”, “Deadpool”), a man who wants his car back, though has none of the documents he needs to prove it’s his so Lea can’t help him.
When they hook-up later, Craig gives Lea a way out; help him get the car out of the pound, which is full of heroin, and he’ll give her a cool $100k. This is a no-brainer, Lea’s chance of an out, however things are scuppered when she’s caught with a small amount of the heroin on her and winds up at the DEA’s office with Casi.
Casi does things by the book and convinces Lea to tell the police everything, the plan for the car, all about Craig, the works. They let her go with a plan to entrap Craig and the gang he’s selling the drugs to, headed by ‘The Gollum’.
However, as Casi’s life begins to spiral downwards, a run-in with a judge who makes a formal complaint against him, potentially ruining his career, his friend Dane, Bill Skarsgård (“Deadpool 2”, “It”), convinces him that they should make a play for the $15million the drugs are worth, why let the bad guys get everything?
Despite Naked Singularity containing a plethora of a-list stars, including a chronically underused Tim Blake Nelson (“Old Henry”, “Watchmen (TV)”), as Casi’s stoner neighbour, it’s the story that lets it down.
You see, the truth is, nothing much happens in Naked Singularity. The characters, mainly Tim Blake Nelson and Bill Skarsgård, talk about ‘cosmic events’ and black holes and wormholes and such, and occasionally Boyega appears to witness something strange, but you’re never quite sure if it’s just him or if there is something going on with the universe and, either way, none of it affects what’s actually happening to our characters anyway, so it doesn’t matter.
The ‘heist’ or whatever you want to call it, is probably twenty-minutes of the movie, if that, and involves such classic cliches as: Lea getting the better of Craig, jumping in a car but then not locking the doors, so he just walks over and drags her out, or Casi holding a sword to Craig’s neck, but not asking him to drop the weapon in his hand, you can imagine what happens next.
Naked Singularity is a well acted movie, of that there is no doubt, however, despite a short run-time it’s unnecessarily slow and it would have been great to see more of Skarsgård and Blake Nelson, in truth, it would have been great to have just had more to the story then we got.
2nd January 2022
THE QUICK SELL
John Boyega, a public defender burned out by the system, on the brink of disbarment, and seeing signs of the universe collapsing all around him decides to rob a multi-million drug deal of one of his clients