Susan Granger’s review of “Equity” (Sony Pictures Classics)
Set on Wall Street, Meera Menon’s financial thriller proves that female executives can be just as cold-hearted, cut-throat and corrupt as the male majority who surround them.
“I like money – like knowing I have it,” declares hot-shot investment banker Naomi Bishop (Anna Gunn, familiar as Skylar White on “Breaking Bad”). “I’m so glad we can sit here, as women, and talk about ambition…Money doesn’t have to be a dirty word.”
Fortyish Naomi has once again been told, “This is not your year,” as she’s passed over for a global position by her boss (Lee Tergesen) at Remson Partners on the basis of one underperforming IPO in her otherwise impressive Silicon Valley start-ups portfolio.
Determined to prove her worth, workaholic Naomi goes after another IPO called Cachet, a San Francisco-based, billion-dollar social network/security business, run by a British tech entrepreneur (Samuel Roukin).
Problem is: Naomi’s equally ruthless, hedge-funder boyfriend, Michael Connor (James Purefoy), steals her info about the upcoming IPO, so he can do some insider trading.
Meanwhile, Naomi’s ambitious protégé, Erin (Sarah Megan Thomas), is trying to conceal the fact that she’s newly pregnant. And Naomi’s manipulative college chum, Samantha (Alysia Reiner), is now working for the Justice Department, investigating white-collar crimes, like securities fraud.
On the lighter side, the most memorable scene reveals Naomi going ballistic when a male underling gives her a cookie with fewer chocolate chips than the one he just ate!
When Broad Street Pictures founders/producers Alysia Reiner and Megan Thomas launched this first female-driven Wall Street drama, they made sure they had a female screenwriter (Amy Fox “Heights”), female director (Meera Menon “Farah Goes Bang”) and strong female cast.
Much of their relatively modest budget came from 25 female investors, including former and current Wall Streeters, who shared their astute observations and experiences in the male-dominated workforce…making the backstory more interesting than the movie itself.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Equity” is a perceptively scrappy 6, but the corporate intrigue lacks a satisfying payoff.