Friday, August 19, 2016

EQUITY: a juicy, intense Wall Street melodrama that highlights... women!

Of course there are high-ranking women on Wall Street and in the banking industry -- just as there are behind the camera in Hollywood. It's just that, compared to their male counterparts, there are damned few. Which is one of several reasons why EQUITY, yet another in the ever-expanding genre of high-finance/double dealing films, is worth seeing. What makes this movie special is that both in front of and behind the camera, women are foremost -- from the actors to director, writer, and especially as the primary characters in this film. Not only are the key players who move the plot forward mostly women, the "compliance" investigator and even the primary "hacker" are, too!

All this brings additional frisson to an already nicely loaded plot involving an about-to-break IPO, the woman in charge of which (Naomie, played by Anna Gunn, above), is still recuperating from an earlier IPO that didn't roll out so well. So she is hugely determined to see that this one succeeds. Helping her do that job is her talented but under-appreciated assistant (Sarah Megan Thomas, below), along with her runs-hot-and-cold boss (Lee Tergesen) and her big-shot boyfriend (the perfectly cast, can-anyone-ever-trust-this-guy? James Purefoy.

Using her wiles to try to bring to justice that insider-trading boyfriend, along with his cohorts, is a "compliance" investigator (played by Alysia Reiner, below, of Orange Is the New Black). All of this has our poor Naomie scrambling to make sure her IPO comes to fruition on track.

As directed by a woman new to my purview, Meera Menon (below), with a screenplay by Amy Fox (from a story by Ms Fox, Ms Thomas and Ms Reiner), the movie is written, filmed and edited (Andrew Hafitz) with economy and smarts. We can follow the ins-and-out of it all but are not beaten about the head as it drives its points and themes home.

Even though the final scene repeats verbatim a viewpoint we've heard earlier in the film, the particular character from whom this verbiage now spews makes its own awful point about how we keep putting the foxes in charge of our hen-houses. It ain't illegal, but it sure as hell ought to be. Still, Equity is pointed and fun, moving fast and concisely toward its goal. And though its stance may be feminist by virtue of most of the major characters being women, you finally find yourself (and properly so) rooting for just about no one at all. The sleaze quotient is simply to high to make that possible. These people deserve each other -- although the American economy and us taxpayers deserves a lot better.

TrustMovies had hoped that the filmmakers would, at the end, give us a look at those revealing photos of the obnoxious co-owner of the IPO that he had put online as bait to prove that his new social-network-with-complete-privacy could not be hacked. Alas, we don't get that little extra delight. But the movie offers plenty of others along the way.

From Sony Pictures Classics and running a sleek 100 minutes, Equity opens here in South Florida today -- in Boca Raton at the Regal Shadowood 16 and The Living Room Theaters; at the Movies of Delray and the Movies of Lake Worthand in the Miami area at the Regal South Beach 18, and the AMC's Aventura 24 and Sunset Place 24. Click here to see all currently scheduled playdates cities and theaters nationwide.

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