The most genuinely interesting question lawyer thriller Naked Singularity compels from viewers is how in the hell so much talent made such a messy piece of entertainment.
Naked Singularity is never quite sure what kind of movie it wants to be. Part Raising Arizona, part philosophical mindscape with the weird, violent ambition of similarly-awkward The Counselor, it’s too quirky to be mainstream and too boring to be arthouse.
As such, this is a film with no niche, no direction, and no argument that makes the audience want to sit up and pay attention.
It starts well enough, as your run-of-the-mill story of a rabble-rousing do-gooder public defender in New York who wants better for himself or his clients.
But as his morals decline and a woman from his past pulls him into a drug deal that could set him up for month, we see his character and everything he stood for fall in on itself. Unfortunately, so does the plot.
The writing by director Chase Palmer and David Matthews never maintains a consistent tone. Palmer had great success co-writing IT, the famed Stephen King adaptation, but he seems lost here.
The cast, including John Boyega, Bill Skarsgard, Olivia Cooke, Ed Skrein and Tim Blake Nelson coast through a movie this talented bunch has no business being in.
One wonders how many favours – and begging – Palmer had to do to get these folks in on his passion project. It’s all over the place, and ultimately leaves whatever good elements it had going for it overshadowed by perplexity.