Chase Palmer’s debut film, Naked Singularity, follows the plight of a righteous public defender who believes in beating the system in its own game. While at a glance, it is a pretty straightforward narrative, writers Chase Palmer and David Matthews complicate the drama through the introduction of astronomical physics laws, also called Naked Singularity. The film is based on the book of the same name written by Sergio De La Pava.
‘Naked Singularity’ Plot Summary
Casi (John Boyega) is a young idealistic public defender who tries to save his clients from court trials in the best possible way he can. He believes that once you fall into the judicial machinery, it’s impossible to get out. Thus, to save one’s existence, it is better to stay away from the black hole. At his introductory pursuit, Casi convinces an Asian man to falsify in the court of law to help him avoid jail time. Later, he invents a story around his client, Mr. Coates’s illness, to persuade the prosecutor to delay his sentencing. Though the judge finds Coates hale and hearty yet Casi tries to argue rudely. Judge calls Casi into her chamber, but Casi persuades Coates to run away to Cuba while leaving. Judge Cymbeline scolds Casi for his impudent behavior and threatens him with disbarment.
A burned-out Casi heads home and experiences a mysterious blackout in the city. The event relates to a ticking timer that suggests an upcoming collapse in 12 days. As Casi reaches home, his building mate Angus, a scientist, links these blackouts with black holes and reveals a complex theory around them. Casi, an anti-intellectual, fails to decipher Angus’ ideas and leaves for his room.
The following day, Casi’s friend at the court, Dane (Bill Skarsgard), informs him about a felony committed by Casi’s college friend, Lea Deleon (Olivia Cooke), who works at a tow pound. Lea gets arrested for possession of heroin and wants to strike a deal with the cops. Thus she needs Casi’s help to clean up her mess. The film further explores Lea and her tangled web of criminal affairs that pulls in PD Casi and Dane.
The Mess Created by Lea
Lea disclosed that a shady guy, Craig Bayonne (Ed Skrein), approached her at the station questioning a recently towed car. A consignment of drugs was stashed inside the car’s navigator. Craig came to Lea because she had a criminal record and thus offered her 100 grand to help him extract a sample of the heroin to sell it to potential parties.
The consignment belonged to a Mexican drug cartel whose mule lost the cargo while visiting his girlfriend in Queens. The girlfriend was lured by Craig, who shared the confidential information with him.
When Lea was returning home with a drug sample, she was arrested by the police. Lea became a police informer and passed on that Craig had cracked a deal with dealers called “The Golem.” He planned to buy the car at the tow pounds auction and sell the stuff to the Jewish Mafia (the Golem) for fifteen million dollars.
The Setup for the Perfect Crime
Casi found out that Lea lied to him and the cops to get bail, while she made a deal with Craig to deliver the drug cargo to the Golem to earn her promised 100 grand. Lea testified that the navigator auction would take place next week when in reality, it was happening on coming Saturday. She played both sides and became a part of the exchange because she wanted to leave her struggling life behind. Lea wanted a new future for herself with the money.
Casi’s friend Dane had similar intentions to leave his burned-out life behind and create a new legacy. When Casi shared his grief with Dane, he saw an opportunity in Lea’s betrayal. He devised a plan to steal the millions from Craig and Lea without any detection or harm. A perfect setup for the perfect crime, but Casi was hesitant.
‘Naked Singularity’ Ending Explained
Angus compared the laws of physics with the court’s rules and convinced Casi that one can break the law and still believe in injustice. The whole scientific comparison persuaded Casi to jump on Dane’s perfect crime. They sneaked into the tow pound and replaced the NYPD trackers with their own to track Lea and Craig.
Craig tried to buy off the navigator on the day of the auction, but he lost the bet to the Mexican Cartel Gang, who showed up at the tow pound to retrieve their cargo. Lea helped Craig to forge the documents to take out the car from the parking lot. They left in the vehicle with the cargo driving towards Golem’s hideout, unaware that Casi and Dane were following them.
Craig successfully exchanged the drugs with Golem and received his money. Through Craig’s inevitable gesture, Lea understood that he would finish her off, just like the mule’s girl, and thus she stood against him. Suddenly, Dane and Casi attacked Craig and his muscled bodyguard. Dane killed Craig’s bodyguard while in defense, Casi stabbed Craig with his Katana (a weapon used by samurai to protect the innocent). Dane and Casi quickly escorted Lea and left the warehouse with their prized money.
In the meantime, NYPD busted the Mexican Cartel associate and tracked down the drug cargo with the help of their tracker triggered by Casi, who had pledged to make sure those drugs never end up on the streets.
Dane, Casi, and Lea distributed their share and parted ways. After Dani and Lea left, Casi threw the Katana into the river that floated into the blue sky instead of drowning. According to Angus, a singularity accelerates the pull of gravity until nothing, not even light, can escape. As a result, things with no mass start having it. Thus, a floating Katana suggested that in Casi’s life, the singularity has evaporated that marked the beginning of a new dawn.
In the end, Casi opened his own little law firm with the help of stolen money. The closing sequence portrayed him in the court idealistically fighting the case of a young black American beaten by the cops for possessing substances. Casi pleaded not guilty for his client and showed his willingness to take his case to trial. A classic Casi would have backed off or invented a narrative to avoid a trial. But a transformed Casi was confident enough to give it a shot and win it. He bailed out the kid with the help of a legal fund (stolen money) and prepared for a legal battle. The judge appreciated Casi’s cooperative conduct making it easy for her to announce a judgment. Casi quoted “the best of all possible worlds” that suggested his changed attitude and approach towards judicial machinery.
Naked Singularity is a 2021 Crime Thriller film directed by debut director Chase Palmer. It is based on the debut novel written by American author Sergio De La Pava.