Sneak Peek: Equity
From Sony Pictures Classics: When Senior investment banker Naomi Bishop (Anna Gunn) is passed over for a promotion at her firm, she fights for the opportunity to take a start-up public, hoping this promising IPO will secure her a place at the firm’s highest level. But when an employee at the start-up raises questions about a possible crack in the company’s walls, Naomi must decide whether to investigate rumors that may compromise the deal, or push forward with the confidence her superiors expect.
Soon Naomi finds herself tangled in a web of deception and office politics and begins to question if there is anyone she can trust. As the IPO draws closer, Naomi sees that the choices she has made for her career have left her very much alone. Forced to reexamine the rules of the cutthroat world she has always loved she finds herself in a fight for her very survival. (Runtime: 100 Minutes)
*** Official Selection of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival ***
*** Official Selection of the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival ***
Starring: Anna Gunn (AMC’s “Breaking Bad”), James Purefoy (Sundance TV’s “Hap and Leonard”), Sarah Megan Thomas (Backwards), Alysia Reiner (Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black”)
Directed by: Meera Menon (Farah Goes Bang)
Screenplay by: Amy Fox
Story by: Sarah Megan Thomas, Alysia Reiner and Amy Fox
This transcript has been lightly edited:
The Referee: Oh, ho, ho, ho! We have another exclusive “Sneak Peek” at a new movie called “Equity” that’ll be coming out July 29. And the Critic and I are excited, because we both got to see it together.
The Critic: We sure did. It was so nice in there, too.
Ref: It sure was. This is starring Anna Gunn — yes, “Breaking Bad’s” Anna Gunn — James Purefoy, Sarah Megan Thomas, and Alysia Reiner — she also was one of the producers on this. It was directed by Meera Menon and written by Amy Fox. Basically, this movie is about women on Wall Street. No, it’s not about corruption and taking down some big institution. It’s about how women thrive or not on Wall Street, which is a different kind of Wall Street movie than we have seen before.
Critic: Yeah, how they climb the corporate ladder. Also, how they get tracked down, OK? …
Ref: Uh-oh. Uh, oh!
Critic: … by the prosecutors.
Ref: That’s right, for insider trading. Now, Anna Gunn plays Naomi Bishop, who is this thriving banker maven, really, at her firm. She is the one who finds these tech companies, and she sees ahead of the curve; she grabs those tech companies and takes them to unlimited revenue. She has been doing this for many years.
Critic: She leads them to their IPO.
Ref: Their IPO and the release, and she manages that whole situation. Now, the movie opens with her sort of losing her edge, a little bit, with a particular IPO. So, we see this woman, who’s been thriving, kinda get hit in her Achilles heel, a little bit, and she’s recovering from that. So, every move forward is all about getting it right. But, there are many obstacles in her way. Aren’t there, Critic?
Critic: There sure are. You know, she’s also dating a colleague played by James Purefoy.
Critic: Now, this is a problem. They’re at the same bank. But he … is a trader! She is the investment banker. And they’re supposed to be separate. So, is there a Chinese wall? Is that Chinese wall doing what it’s supposed to do between the two of them?
Ref: Coming into play is Sarah Megan Thomas’s Erin Manning, who is this very ambitious vice president who’s basically doing all of the legwork for Naomi. But she finds out, she’s given some sort of curve ball (laughing) that could potentially interrupt her ambition to be the next Naomi. Now, as we go through the entire movie, we find out that something quite doesn’t go down correctly. So, they’re gonna bring in the prosecutors to find out if the Chinese wall has been broken, crossed, or demolished (laughing) or not. And that’s where the movie sort of begins, ends, and climaxes … and all of that. So, that’s the gist.
Critic: Yeah, and Alysia Reiner — as you mentioned — she plays that prosecutor, Samantha Ryan, in this movie. And we see her home life and all of that, as well.
Ref: Here’s the overall theme. Here’s the question at hand. The question that Amy Fox raises is: Can women be ambitious? And if they can be, at what cost? Does it cost them? What does it cost their companies? What does it cost their relationships with one another? Are they loyal? Do women make pacts with one another to get things done, or do they need to go their separate ways at any means necessary? She raises those questions. And I think — overall, for me — she raises them, and it’s interesting. Like we’ve talked about, we’ve never really seen this kind of Wall Street movie before?
Critic: No, not from women’s perspectives.
Ref: Not from a woman’s perspective. But I do have to say, with “Equity,” there are a couple shortcomings. This is a relatively new writer, Amy Fox, as far as feature films go, and there were some lags in the writing, for me. But, the overall themes were so present that some of those things were forgivable. And some were absolutely not.
Critic: Yeah! You know, what I would say, Ref, is: Throughout the film, whether it was working or not, I did enjoy watching the actors do their work.
Critic: They were listening. They were breathing. They were thinking. I mean, it would be a simple “no,” and they had a whole backstory, you could tell, behind that. Anna Gunn, especially … the breath … Her opening scene, when she tells the guy, “Look, you need to stick with me. I had nine winners before that loser. Nine!”
Ref: Mm, mm. Mm, mm.
Critic: So, that’s one thing. Also, we mentioned the whole woman’s perspective — THAT made it interesting. The only thing: There were some things, at the end, that I thought were dropped. And, look, you know I don’t care about endings so much.
Ref: I do.
Critic: (laughing) But if you set a lot of things up, then you might have to have a payoff. We didn’t quite get it here. So, what I would say is this: If you’re interested in seeing a wonderful cast, I mean all kinds of people pop up …
Ref: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Critic: … that you may recognize. And, if you’re interested in that, if you’re interested in seeing this woman’s perspective of Wall Street: OK, check it out. Otherwise, hey, you can wait for it or do something else.
Ref: Oh, you know what, I do have to add — as a woman who is in the industry — I want to applaud just the crew alone, everyone who was a part of this to make this happen. This was one of the official selections of both the Sundance Film Festival as well as Tribeca …
Ref: … and the critics are drinking it up, a little bit. So, I do have to say: If you want to champion or support something like this, it’s not bad to go see it in the theater. Are there some problems? Of course, there are. But, overall, this is something that we haven’t seen before.
Critic: That’s right. And, you know, it’ll keep your attention. And, look, that ain’t easy to do!
Ref: All right.