Equity (2016)

Think “Working Girl” Meets “Wolf of Wall Street”

Directed by Meera Menon
Starring Anna Gunn, James Purefoy, Sarah Megan Thomas
1 hour 40 minutes
MPAA rating: R
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It’s not just the men that are swimming with sharks these days. Women may be the minority on Wall Street, but alive and present, ready to kick ass and take numbers. It’s a couple of these shrewd and ambitious women who are at the heart of the new financial thriller, Equity directed by Meera Menon and starring Anna Gunn from Breaking Bad. Senior investment banker Naomi Bishop (Gunn) is sharp, determined and in control. She has always been focused on her career, unabashedly in love with money and success.

Naomi, who specializes in bringing Silicon start ups through public offerings, is itching to continue her climb up the corporate ladder. Her last project failed, tainting her reputation and casting doubts as to her worthiness of promotion. In an effort to redeem herself, she takes on a big IPO risk for a big win. In navigating her way to the finish line, Naomi encounters hurdles in the form of her younger subordinate Erin, her banker boyfriend James, and Samantha, an old college friend now investigating Wall Street for the Justice Department. Erin is determined and desperate but feels overlooked and under appreciated. James is more opportunistic than loyal while Samantha seems more enemy than ally. Who can she trust? Is it any of it worth the risk?

As one would expect, Equity is minimal and mean in tone, dark in its look and slow in its pace. The casting is impressive, with all the main actors turning out believable, true performances, especially Ms. Gunn as a solid, captivating lead. While the casting and performances are estimable, the characterization and plot development are lean and lacking; too rushed and bankrupt. It’s one thing to leave the audience wanting more, but another for leaving the feeling of the movie needing more. Enhanced intrigue, twists and turns would have taken Equity to another level. The level its at is commendable and worth seeing for its female-centric financial plot premise that few or none have gone before, but the lack of depth is a missed opportunity.

Paula has worked as a journalist/producer for outlets such as CBS Radio, ABC Radio, and a film and theater reviewer for the Detroit Metro Times. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area working as a freelance journalist, website writer and documentary filmmaker.