Movie Review - Equity

Two-time Emmy winner Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad) stars as Naomi Bishop, a high-profile banker working on the IPO for a software or social media company called Cachet. Naomi is part of the underwriting firm handling Cachet's entrance into the stock market. She wants a promotion at the firm, but she had problems with her last company's IPO, a company called DynaCorps. There's distrust from the people around her and a determination on her part to make sure things go right this time, which makes her not the most personable person. She's also got a Gordon Gekko-like edge to her where she simply loves money and is ambitious with no shame about it. However, she's not driven to criminal acts.

Alysia Reiner (Orange is the New Black) co-stars as Samantha, an agent with the SEC who is investigating Michael Connor, played by James Purefoy (Rome and The Following). Michael is more a Gordon Gekko-type and Samantha is hot on his case. She goes to people who are connected to him, which includes Naomi who is having sex with Michael. Samantha thinks that Naomi is in collusion with Michael, the stockbroker, to do some insider trading. Meantime, Samantha juggles work with having two young children and a lesbian wife.

Sarah Megan Thomas also co-stars as Erin Manning, a fellow banker at the same firm as Naomi. She assists with the Cachet account. She's as ambitious as Naomi, but she's still green in some ways. She isn't incompetent, but she perhaps allows her ambition to get the better of her. Sometimes, this works in her favor and sometimes, it doesn't. She does learn that she is pregnant, but she's not going to let that get in the way of her work.

The screenplay by Amy Fox (Heights) with story credits by Sarah Megan Thomas and Alysia Reiner does a good job of not hitting us over the head but illustrating those conflicts or struggles of women in a male-driven profession such as Wall Street. Seeing Erin, for example, navigate in that world while pregnant is interesting. A lot of it involves winning over people, which might include flirting and even drinking, something that Erin can't do being pregnant and involved with her baby's father Gabe, played by Nick Gehlfuss (Chicago Med). Fox's script doesn't go far enough with those struggles as one would hope, but being briefly touched upon is appreciated.

The majority of the movie concerns itself with Naomi's concern with making Cachet's IPO a success. We follow her through her confidences and her stresses, as she tries to prove herself in more ways than one. Maybe it's to prove she's just as tough, as director Meera Menon constantly has her punching a boxing bag. In that, Gunn gives a great performance. A particularly great moment is when she screams, "I don't want to be fine!"

The ending could have been a bit stronger than it is. The film starts with Samantha being taken aback by Naomi's money-is-good speech at a mentoring program to young women. Yet, we're supposed to believe that by the end of the film, Samantha has taken on that same money-is-good mentality. I'm not sure that the film convinces of that arc. I wasn't convinced of Samantha's actions in that final scene.

Rated R for language throughout.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 40 mins.


Popular Posts