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‘Equity’ Explores the Liabilities of High Finance

Anna Gunn stars as a woman in a man’s world

Aug. 23, 2016
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Equity touches on a host of issues, social as well as economic. It stars Anna Gunn as Naomi, an executive in the world’s largest investment bank who has hit her head on the glass ceiling—and it hurts. Equity also deals with generational rivalry in the workplace; concerns over how easily our stock market-driven economy can be rigged by a few words in the right sets of ears; and the question of whether security on the internet can ever be guaranteed.

That’s a lot for a single film clocking in at just less than two hours, but Equity is packed tightly and efficiently—oh, and then there’s the additional sideways glance at the cultural acceptance of avarice. Naomi has fully embraced Gordon Gekko’s credo that “Greed is good” and tells the student audience at her alma matter: “I like money.” For her, feminism means being as bad as the bad boys. 

And yet, Naomi plays by the rules. Not so all of her associates, especially the one closest to her, boyfriend-fellow investment banker Michael (James Purefoy). He’s British, as debonair as James Bond and deals information to hedge fund moguls over martinis in darkened Wall Street bars. He likes money too, but for him, insider trading is also a game of cloak and dagger, complete with illicit trading tips concealed inside stuffed hedgehogs.

Too late does Naomi realize that her old college chum was right about Michael. Samantha (Alysia Reiner), now with the U.S. attorney’s office, is among the most unusual characters ever to surface in a mainstream Hollywood drama. She’s a lesbian with two children, playing vixen to coax damning information from easily flattered male hedge fund managers over a drink at the bar.

Perhaps Naomi has too many other challenges to wonder what Michael does when he’s out with the boys? She has the opportunity to manage the IPO for Cachet, a new social network promising absolute privacy for its users, but her blunt middle-aged feminism doesn’t favorably impress the hoodie-wearing genius behind Cachet. The deal is saved by Naomi’s doe-eyed assistant, Erin (Sarah Megan Thomas), who not only speaks his language but catches his eye. And then a vital tip comes Naomi’s way: Even Cachet’s firewall isn’t strong enough to withstand hacking. Will this information become a secret trading tip stuffed inside a hedgehog? 

Directed by Meera Menon and written by Amy Fox, Equity tells the story of Anna—and Samantha and Erin—from a female perspective. They are an unstable trio in what is still largely a man’s world and, to the screenplay’s credit, they find no conveniently happy endings.

Equity

Anna Gun

Alysia Reiner

Directed by Meera Menon

Rated R

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