Rated R, 100 minutes
The new finance thriller "Equity," much like the stock market, has some ups and downs and isn't perfect, but it's still some trashy fun, and gives women a voice in both business and film. "Equity" is a female-driven project for sure, given that its leads, director (newcomer Meera Monan), writers and producers are all women. Regardless of that, it's an occasionally refreshing take on what happens behind the scenes in a testosterone-driven area such as Wall Street. Naomi, an investment banker ("Breaking Bad's" Anna Gunn) tries to work her way up the Wall Street ladder while a prosecutor ("Orange is the New Black's" Alysia Reiner, who also produced and contributed to the story) keeps an eye out for corrupt practices. Directed by Monan and written by Amy Fox, the fun, well-played "Equity" makes up for lack of depth with some energy and a nice turn from Emmy-winner Gunn, who handles the female-empowering lead with panache. The twists and turns are both broad (no pun intended) and soapy, and "Equity" seems more like a TV movie or a junior league version of Oliver Stone's "Wall Street," with Gunn channeling more Alexis Carrington than Gordon Gekko, but still some trashy fun along the way. It's not that "Equity" isn't an honorable effort, but Fox's screenplay is filled with bad dialogue and Monan's direction lacks the complexity of a more skilled director, giving it a second-rate feel that overshadows some of its more important themes, namely that men and women aren't created equal on Wall Street, and that yes, women can love to make money in business too. I agree, women can be power players too, and while I enjoyed Gunn's strong turn, fully appreciating the run it makes, but "Equity" still offers flat returns.