Senior investment banker Naomi Bishop’s world of high-power big money is brutal and fierce, and one she thrives in. When a controversial IPO threatens the fragile balance of power and confidentiality, Naomi finds herself entangled in a web of politics and deception.
The financial crisis of the late 2000s has reinvigorated the ‘financial thriller’ genre, and Equity brings a new perspective to this: it is an all-female film – from actresses to director to producers. Yet it is not a very feminist movie; other than claims like ‘it is ok for women to like money too’, the female angle isn’t overplayed in the storyline. This would be a strength if the plot was strong in its own right, but as it isn’t, the movie lacks a bit of a point to make.
Anna Gunn plays Naomi Bishop, a Wall Street exec leading the Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) of technology companies. She reconnects with an old classmate, Samantha (Alysia Reiner), who now is a sharp investigator for the Attorney-General’s office. As Naomi works hard pitching to take the next start-up public, her colleague/partner/lover Michael (James Purefroy) is being secretly investigated by Samantha, whilst he is trying to get insider information out of Naomi.
Whilst the acting of both Anna Gunn and Alysia Reiner is strong, their characters remain fairly uninteresting. Not devious enough to excite, the storyline then needs to make up for it. The overall plot however is pretty straightforward, with a somewhat forced twisty ending that doesn’t really work. The situations that advance the plot often feel rather forced, and the contextual scenes feel shallow and made by outsiders of the financial world. Not that I am an insider, but to start a pitch to a tech company with ‘we have all kinds of social media, we have facebook, we have twitter, and now we have you’ isn’t exactly going to awe the party being pitched to; yet she wins the billion dollar IPO in under two minutes. There is no comedic relief, nor is there real suspense, a villain to hate or a hero(in) to cheer.
It’s certainly watchable as a TV movie, but it doesn’t really qualify as a financial thriller. It is a not very thrilling career drama about ambition, a love for money, hard work and backstabbing, set in the financial world. I wouldn’t go out of your way to track this one down.