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Equity (2016) was directed by Meera Menon. It stars Anna Gunn as Naomi
Bishop, a high-powered Wall Street executive whose specialty is taking
corporations public with IPO's. (IPO stands for Initial Public
Offering.) She has taken nine companies public, but her most recent
effort has fallen short. Now, she's working with another company, and
she's fighting for the opportunity to take it public.
James Purefoy plays Michael Connor, a hedge funder who is Naomi's lover. Alysia Reiner plays Samantha, Naomi's assistant, who is loyal, but who has ambitions of her own. Sarah Megan Thomas portrays Erin Manning, who works for the federal government. Her job is to discover and punish corporate crime, and she's very good at it. All three of these actors do very well in their roles.
I enjoyed this film, because it gave me a glimpse of a world I don't know, and don't really want to know. The acting was superb, the sets were excellent, and everything looked and felt real. As I noted, I don't know if the plot was realistic, but the sense of wealth, power, and greed felt real to me.
I don't see this as a movie about a woman trying to break through the glass ceiling. I see it as the story of a hard-driven, ambitious person, who is up against some strong, vicious, and crafty competitors. That's the life she's chosen, and that's the life she's living. It's not a happy life, even if you win. There's hardly a happy moment in the movie. Be prepared for a tale of ambition and treachery.
We saw this film at the excellent Little Theatre in Rochester, NY. It will work well on DVD.
Note: Equity has a horrible 5.4 IMDb rating. Normally, we would never go to a movie rated this low. However, when I looked at the ratings, it became clear that women liked the film, and men hated the film. As usual for IMDb, many more men than women vote. So, if men hate a film, that will lower its rating, even if women like it. My suggestion--ignore the rating and see it.
It's a woman oriented financial film drama directed by a woman
filmmaker. That makes it empowered by women. On the perspective it was
my first experience, so I think it could be the only of its kind. It is
not as bad as it looks, those who liked financial related films like
'Margin Call', 'The Big Short', 'Glengarry Glen Ross' et cetera would
enjoy it as well. This film stayed true to its title, so that's what
you are going to expect, but nothing a bit more than that.
There are unexpected turns in the narration. Particularly the characters, that too the females. It is about the commitment and trust in the colleagues. No matter what you do, the company always judges you by your result. The pace might look slow, but it gets better in the latter half. The film turned into kind of thriller and ended with a little drag, though satisfying.
Anna Gunn was so good and looks like we have here another talented woman director Meera Menon. This film did not get as popular as its counterpart on the same theme, I mean men's Wall Street thriller. But somewhat I liked it and seems a sequel is not a bad idea, after how this story had ended. Finally, this is for the selected viewers, so those who are from the outside of its bandwidth won't end watching it happy, hence the film will lose its rating, but not the quality.
Naomi Bishop (Anna Gunn) is the perfect prototype of the fearlessly ambitious women in corporate America today. Written by Sarah Megan Thomas (who also plays the supporting character Erin Manning), Naomi Bishop pulls no punches about her love for money and the power and security she wants all for herself. Anna Gunn gives a remarkable performance which thankfully puts to bed her role as whining Skyler White (Breaking Bad). The movie touches upon all the pitfalls a woman must skirt in order to get to the top of the cutthroat investment banking world although the over the top seduction of a young broker by Federal Prosecutor Samantha (Alysia Reiner)was painful to watch. "Equity" stands out for its revealing portrayal of unabashed greed that has crashed through the nurturing and loving image maintained (or perhaps foisted upon) women in the Western world.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Working Girl" with Melanie Griffith covered some of the same territory
in 1988. That working class heroine broke into the nearly all-boys club
by ousting the other woman on the floor. The Wall Street in "Equity"
fast forwards a few decades and we find the offices filled with female
executives. Anne Gunne plays Naomi Bishop, an ambitious, work-obsessed
investment banker who loves money and power because her mother was poor
and powerless. She lives among the rats in the rat race. She is smart
but she is surrounded by opportunists, including her lover and her
The story is about taking a Silicon Valley company, like Facebook, public. The initial public offering is a make-or-break event for Naomi's career. She is in the spotlight, because her last IPO failed and she was blamed for it.
The script is flat. These Masters of the Universe talk endlessly about business, and they plot against each other. It is a joyless, amoral world of money, cocktails, limo rides and back stabbing.
In "Working Girl," Tess had a moment of triumph when she, not her rival, became the super- rich investment banker rising from her outer borough origins. Here, Naomi is already rich, but her life in the skyscraper is unrewarding as she has no friends, only fellow money grubbers and she sleeps with a man who uses her for her insider information.
In the end, the back stabbers change places, and new group of greedy bastards take the stage.
Not a life-affirming message.
There were strong female characters in this retread of so many Wall
Street dramas. Sadly, not one of them was someone that I'd want one of
my nieces to emulate. There are so many issues to address in the male
dominated US investment banking industry. None of them were addressed
in a thoughtful manner.
After the tech bubble burst and then again following the crash of the US housing market, the news was littered with stories about investment banks and bankers who committed criminal offenses. How high paid professionals approach and ultimately cross into the realm of the illegal could provide fascinating fodder for filmmakers and audiences alike. Equity missed the mark again.
How can a film written by women, directed by a woman, and with so many female roles give us so many caricatures of women?
The only thing that looked or felt real was the trading floor and it was way to small for the trading floor of the world's largest investment bank.
I laughed when reading the sponsor credit for Bloomberg.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie was just the one we needed! A female-driven drama about life
in Wall Street. The third act is where everything fell flat. If Meera
Menon was looking to film the fictional exploits of women in the
corporate world, I would have no problem. But, that's not what she
wants. She's reaching for something higher. Something like Margin Call.
And that's where she falters.
Before I continue, let me just put it out there that I'm a male and a feminist. I love movies with female-oriented roles, because it's about freaking time it happened. Equity however wasn't a step forward. Nobody's moving. Everything is stiff. I will however appreciate the crew's efforts in developing this slick film.
And now, the drawbacks: - The dialogues seemed forced and in many cases, acting too. The closing monologue features Sam (Alysia Reiner) repeating something she heard her former friend, Naomi (Anna Gunn) had said before. When Naomi said it, there was a punch. Alysia just does a verbatim impression with no vigor.
- As mentioned earlier, the performances weren't up to the mark. Anna Gunn steals the show with her ballsy performance. Alysia Reiner on the other hand doesn't really do her role any justice. She just looks like a determined agent in the first 80 minutes and then falls back. That mean stare is absent in the last 20-25 minutes of the movie. Her delivery lacks the punch. - The stereotypical career woman who's deciding between work and family: played by Sarah Megan Thomas in the film, this career woman, oh let's call her "Liberty", not only is confused with the imbalance but is also pregnant and carries out an affair. - All men are evil. First, Ghostbusters. Now, Equity. Men are evil people. And this also includes Naomi's boyfriend, Michael, played by James Purefoy, who isn't sure of what accent to choose from. First, he sounds like a New Yorker. Then, he's Irish, and somehow he goes Canadian (I swear I heard him say "aboot"). Purefoy was brilliant in The Following, but this just shouldn't be in his resume.
Want a reason to watch Equity? Anna Gunn and a good attempt by the team. Or just watch Margin Call and imagine Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany and Jeremy Irons have two x chromosomes.
As though intended to fulfill a quota this film comes out and delivers
a reasonable facsimile of a financial drama, yet the reason it falters
so obviously is it lacks any sense of purpose, other than to offer
women in the roles.
The product is a dull walk-through of corporate and financial egomaniacs who bluster without menace. It's all been seen before. Financial films are an oddity; like sports movies, they are all much more boring than the real thing. Read the financial media and the daily news is more exciting and riskier than anything served up on the screen.
The real fault of this film is that it conveys a sense of worthiness: to address a deficit in female portraits in finance and the result is a stewed bland boiled pudding. If the intention was polemical, a monograph might have been better. The story-line of the cop who uses a honey-trap to gain information is risible and quite terrible screen writing. The attempts at ruthless wit are limp and even if the overall story is stale, a rewrite by a writer who wrote attacking, sharp dialog would have covered up the other terrible blemishes in the script.
The editing and directing doesn't hand this any favors either: clunk, clunk it goes, until the very end.
Not sure why this movie was so bad. Perhaps the slow pace and the enforced slow dialogue. Perhaps the bad acting. In either or both cases this movie should be given a wide berth. I loved Anna Gunn in Breaking bad, in fact she was instrumental in it's popularity but I watched a different actress here. Her interpretation in this 'Wall St' type movie was simply awful. Totally unbelievable. I always turn off movies when the leading lady has either Botoxed lips or stupidly unreal white teeth, for some reason I can't take it serious from that point on. So many women in the industry feel the need to wreck their natural looks. Anyhow, back to the movie, I dare anyone to watch Gunn's on-screen divorced husband acting out a serious scene and avoid breaking out into laughter at his facial expressions. Again terrible acting. This movie could have been interesting but the casting director had lost his marbles. The writing was drawn out and laboured with far too many close up 'still life' moments. Take heed, it's valuable time you are wasting if you labour through this stuff.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie was terrible, first and foremost. I can't begin to cover all
the reasons, but I'll go over a few.
Anna Gunn's character is absolutely horrendous. I believe that the writers tried to make her this strong, independent, taking on the boy's club type. But ultimately just gave us scene after scene where your hatred for her grows. She treats her subordinates like absolute trash. It's embarrassing to watch. There's actually one scene (I swear I'm not making this up) where she screams at the top of her lungs at one of her underlings that "there's only 3 mother f@+king chocolate chips in my cookie!". It gets worse than that. She refuses to pay one employee her much deserved salary. She debates firing an employee for being pregnant. She's just awful. I felt like the writers wanted you to somehow look at her abominable behavior as being a tough, go gutter of a woman. This movie was LITERALLY anti- feminist.
Another one of this movie's many issues was the ridiculous way people just trick other people into saying things they know they'd go to jail for saying. One scene consists of a district attorney using her "feminine whiles" to trick an educated man into believing that they'd met before and exchanged illegal information. She uses alcohol to get further information out of him. Anyone who's seen 2 or more episodes of law & order knows that's illegal (I looked up the law just to be sure, yep, it's illegal). This isn't the only time a brief conversation is used to convince someone into committing a crime.
Finally, for the sake of "cutting to the chase". Every man in this movie is either a user of women, incompetent, or a douche-bag. At the start of the movie it does give you the impression that it would be a film about a strong woman but just ends up being a step backwards for women.
Oh and Anna Gunn's acting is far removed from her performances in Deadwood and Breaking Bad.
In short, skip it. I didn't like this movie. If I were a woman, I'd despise this movie and actively try to get it removed from existence.
i loved it. didn't expect much as it as not a high profile Hollywood movie and my husband had watched and suggested that i watch it. i started the movie with very low expectations and was pleasantly surprised. It built up to a strong story and i didn't move from the couch. Anna Gunn does a great job of representing the 40+ female executive in the investment industry and how she deals with a male environment, competition from others and people looking for info. she plays a smart controlled woman in a uncontrollable industry. It could have easily been a male lead as the story development was superb. i was not familiar with Gunn and from this recognized her in Sully and will follow her career now. Watch this movie.
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