Naked Singularity Review – A Race Against Time Dramady

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Naked Singularity, from Screen Media, presents the story of second chances, missed opportunities, and a collision of destinies in an extremely hot summer in Manhattan when right and wrong are blurred into the darkness of the here and now.

The film begins deep in the canyons of Manhattan as Casi, played by John Boyega, a New York City Public Defender explains through voice over, as he walks through the Manhattan criminal courthouse, the overloaded criminal justice system.


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Life for Casi, is a turnstile of the chronic criminal, the drug addicts, the petty thieves, the unfortunate who seem to get caught every time, as if they are tagged with a homing device that leads the police to them without fail.

On this day he is standing in front of his nemesis, Judge Cymbeline, played by Linda Lavin, who has essentially had it with Casi and his continued efforts to move the line between criminality and legality, until one essentially blurs with the other.

Walking out after a long day as an overworked, underpaid, public defender, his idealism is beginning to splinter under the daily injustices of the very justice system he’s trying to make right, and it is obvious in his attire, his mannerism; he is fed up and it shows.

The next day we meet Lea, played by Olivia Cooke, who is working the window at the NYC impound lot, where towed cars are stored and sold at auction. A man slips her an envelope, he is trying to persuade her to subvert the system and help him get this car out of the garage. She passes.


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That night, she goes out with the girls, and after a few shots, and in a moment weakness, she swipes right on a dating app and the next thing we know, the guy, Craig, played by Ed Skrein, is at her home. By 3:00am she is done with him and wants him to leave. He on the other hand, is not the half night-stand kind of guy and makes it very clear he needs the car.

Lea ends up being arrested and is waiting for counsel and expressly asks for Casi, who got her off without jail time in the past. She explains the story and soon we understand in the car that Craig wants so desperately is hiding about $50million in heroin. So far no one, not the NYPD, Detectives or anyone knows it’s hidden. She uses the information as her get out of jail free card and makes a deal.

Another NYC Public Defender, bidding his time for a resume filler, Dane, played by Bill Skarsgard finds out about the heroin and asks his friend, what can’t we make off with the drugs, make the buy, that Craig had worked out, we steal the money, and no one would be any the wiser.

In between a Manhattan mid-summer black out, Casi begins to doubt all he has worked for and as he sees signs of the universe collapsing all around him, he is pulled into this dangerous high-stakes drug heist by an unpredictable former client and a resume filling public defender to beat the broken system at its own game.


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Based on the PEN prize-winning novel A Naked Singularity by Sergio De La Pava, a former Manhattan District Attorney with first-hand knowledge of the everyday travesties of justice in city courtrooms.

Naked Singularity, an entertaining, race against time thriller, is a fast and funny, twisting ride through a hot steamy mid-summer Manhattan, where anything goes. This genre-bending film is a razor-sharp indictment of legal dysfunction with rapier wit and biting sarcasm and in the end, the ideals of the law fade and a boost for a brighter, better, future are worth the risks for a momentary indiscretion.  

Naked Singularity opens Friday, August 6, 2021, in select cities and follows with streaming August 13, 2021. See it.


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Country: US

Language: English

Runtime: 93 minutes.

Director: Chase Palmer.

Writer: Chase Palmer, David Matthews based on the novel “A Naked Singularity” by Sergio De La Pava.

Producer: Tony Ganz, Kevin J. Walsh, Ryan Stowell, P. Jennifer Dana, Ross Jacobson.

Executive Producer: Ridley Scott, Dick Wolf, Sebastien Raybaud, Francois Callens, John Zois, Mark Roberts, Tony Pachella, Deborah Roth, Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck.

Cast: John Boyega, Olivia Cooke, Bill Skarsgård, Ed Skrein, Linda Lavin, Tim Blake Nelson.

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