Hot Take: Financial thriller where the female characters appear to be filled with testosterone and the male characters are one dimensional. Even when the genders are reversed, this still makes for a mediocre movie.
In Equity, women wield a lot of power. It’s the most refreshing element of the latest Wall Street spawn. The 1987 film has had a lot of offspring. With Equity, it finally has a niece. It’s almost amazing to think it took Hollywood nearly three decades to put women in the role of power in a movie about greed being good. Then again, with Hollywood’s track record of their treatment of women, it should come as no surprise.
Unfortunately, the female characters of Equity suffer from the same faults of their male counterparts in other financial thrillers as they are frequently predictable and seem to be acting like men to be accepted in a man’s world. Some of it feels a little forced and the predictability keeps Equity from rising above mediocrity.
In what could be deemed as revenge to some, the male characters are especially one dimensional. This is a trait usually reserved for the female characters in this genre of film. Instead, the male characters are given simple, shallow traits that give them the depth of a kiddie pool. This serves to elevate the female characters above their male counterparts but hurts the film’s authenticity in the way it hurts male driven films when the female characters are one dimensional. If Equity is trying to make a point about how having one dimensional characters hurts a film’s authenticity, point well taken. It doesn’t help the film be any better, though.
What works well are the two lead females. Anna Gunn plays Naomi Bishop, a confident, powerful Senior investment banker who desperately wants a promotion but continues to be passed over. Gunn is excellent in the role as she shows a tough, confident facade but internally appears to be crumbling and frustrated at the glass ceiling she faces due to her gender. Alysia Reiner plays Samantha, a prosecutor for the U.S. government who pursues white collar crime. Reiner’s character is as manipulative and conniving as they come in her efforts to get her man (or woman). She’s also conflicted with an opportunity to chase the money by becoming an attorney for a large investment bank.
Overall, Equity ends up being an average viewing thanks to its lack of depth in the male characters and some of the female characters. Too many subplots water down the film’s main focus and allows the audience to occasionally drift. Equity fights hard to establish its gender bending efforts. Too bad it didn’t spend as much time fighting to establish its own identity as, in the end, it just feels too much like “What if Wall Street woke up as a woman?” rather than establishing its own niche. It’s still okay but it feels like it could have been so much more.
“Spoiler Free” Pros
- Anna Gunn
Being a fan of her work on Breaking Bad, Gunn holds her own in a man’s world as Bishop. You see her fighting the uphill battle women face in the financial world while, at the same time, occasionally using these stereotypes to overcome some obstacles she faces.
- You’ll Never Look at a Chocolate Chip Cookie the Same Again
It seems like every financial thriller has to have some sort of scene that sticks with you. In Wall Street, it’s Gordon Gekko’s “Greed is good” speech. In Glengarry Glen Ross, Alec Baldwin’s Blake shares a number of memorable lines including “Coffee is for closers.” Equity has a few as well including one involving Gunn’s Bishop and some chocolate chip cookie commentary.
“Spoiler Free” Cons
- Sarah Megan Thomas
It’s probably not Thomas’ fault that her character Erin Manning appears to be as one dimensional as the male characters in the film but, unfortunately, her character lacks the depth to give this film a leg up on the competition.
- The One Dimensional Men of Equity
In Equity, men lie, cheat, steal and are unwavering on their decisions no matter what happens around them. They have no real motivation for their nefarious ways other than that they are men and they can. Oh and they’ll be handsomely rewarding for being that way, too.