List Film

Equity (2 stars)

Despite its good intentions, this female-led Wall Street drama lacks the narrative bite needed to be truly entertaining

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Equity

Investment banker Naomi Bishop (Breaking Bad's Anna Gunn) is almost at the top of her game; no easy place for a woman to be on male-dominated Wall Street. But she's still waiting for the promotion that will catapult her into the most rarefied realms of high-finance, and her latest IPO project – raising investors for a billion-dollar public offering of a hot new tech firm – is hitting a few snags.

She's also not sure if she can quite trust her longtime lover (James Purefoy), a hedge-fund manager always looking to crack Naomi's insider's angle, and a new personal complication crops up when she reconnects with an old school friend (Alysia Reiner) who is now a federal public prosecutor investigating white-collar crime.

There hasn't been a movie like Equity before, one in which women are proudly open about being ambitious and loving money. We've barely seen a woman in a movie about Wall Street who isn't a stripper since way back in 1988's Working Girl. Financed and produced by a team of actual Wall Street women, and a labor-of-love project for its all-female creative team – including director Meera Menon and screenwriter Amy Fox – this is a film fuelled by women's entirely justifiable anger over the lack of a significant female onscreen presence.

So it's a shame that the film seems so focused on being 'important' and 'groundbreaking' that it forgets that its primary concern should be telling a cracking story. Events that should be matters of intrigue and suspense instead merely get ticked off; something happens, then another thing happens, all in a cinematic monotone. There's no fascination to be found in the characters, no tension in what they're plotting and little sense of completion when their plans come to fruition.

Limited release from Fri 2 Sept.

Equity

  • 2 stars
  • 2016
  • US
  • 100 min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Meera Menon
  • Cast: Anna Gunn, James Purefoy, Alysia Reiner, Sarah Megan Thomas
  • UK release: 2 September 2016

Investment banker Naomi (Gunn) is almost at the top of her game when she reconnects with an old friend (Reiner) who's now a prosecutor investigating white-collar crime. Financed, produced, written and directed by women, this is a true labour of love but despite good intentions it fatally lacks drama.

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