Naomi Bishop (Breaking Bad's Gunn) is a hedge fund manager vying for position of global boss. However, there's a black mark against her – she let the previous I.P.O go south and the 'perception' of her is that she's difficult to get along with. So when she gets one more chance to blow the competition away by taking a secure networking website to the stock market she's prepared to do what it takes. However, government lawyer and one-time school friend Samantha (Reiner) is sniffing around investigating rumours of insider trading involving her and partner, banker Michael (Purefoy)…
verything about Equity is tight. Director Meera Menon (Farah Goes Bang) keeps things clean and orderly and sterile and, bar some precision framing (there is something Kubrickian about those lobby and office shots), isn't worried about forcing some notice-me visuals onto the screen. She's largely content to let Amy Fox's screenplay (worked from Thomas and Reiner's story) carry the audience along; there's no flab on the story, nothing to fluff out the running time – everything's essential.
t might dialogue-driven but Fox works in the spaces too: at one point Naomi comes across her VP (Thomas) dumping her martini into the bathroom sink and asks her how far along is she. The implication, and the look between the two women, is that the VP's career is now about to hit the skids. Menon and Fox too seem adamant to highlight that this is about women in roles historically dominated by men, and then quickly puts that to one side, as if they're not going to let that be its raison d'etre.
he likes of Wall Street and Margin Call are the obvious touchstones but Equity can be guilty of some needless lifts – Naomi's rant at an underling for bringing her a cookie with only five chocolate chips is a riff on Casino's blueberry muffin scene. The ins and outs of the world - I.P.O's, stocks, hedge funds, etc – are still just as confusing as they always were, and with everything so clean and polished and tidy, there's not a lot of feeling on the screen: "I like money… don't let money be a dirty word," seems to be the mantra and the entire enterprise is as frank and cold as that.
ut whatever shortcomings the film has none of them belong to Anna Gunn. In her first big role since Breaking Bad, Gunn embraces the hard professionalism of her character, unworried about all this 'characters must change/evolve/learn' guff. Her character mimics the film itself: Equity has the bravery to see its cynical worldview right to the end credits.
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