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Review: 'Equity' rises above corporate melodrama with staunchly feminine perspective

 
Anna Gunn stars as a she-wolf of Wall Street in "Equity." (Sony Pictures Classics)
Anna Gunn stars as a she-wolf of Wall Street in "Equity." (Sony Pictures Classics)
Published Aug. 26, 2016

Acting life after Breaking Bad is going well for Anna Gunn, with a key role in the upcoming Sully and her shrewd portrayal of a she-wolf of Wall Street in Equity.

Gunn brings Skyler White steeliness to the role of Naomi Bishop, a senior investment banker on the rebound from a failed bid to underwrite a lucrative IPO. Another deal is in the works, with a software developer whose social media privacy program is going public. Naomi's ambition and caution give Gunn ample shades of don't-mess-with-me to play.

What lifts Equity above ordinary corporate melodrama is its staunchly feminine perspective, and not only in its lead character. Naomi is circled by strong, possibly corruptible women: her quietly disgruntled vice president Erin (Sarah Megan Thomas) and her college friend Samantha (Alysia Reiner), now a cagey Justice Department investigator.

Behind the camera, Equity is equally represented by director Meera Menon and screenwriter Amy Fox (with Thomas and Reiner as story co-creators and producers). This movie is an exception to an unwritten but institutionally enforced Hollywood rule.

Equity even has an homme fatale, Naomi's hedge fund broker boyfriend (James Purefoy), on the lookout for an IPO offering to flop. Fox's screenplay makes the process and its corruption clearer than any lesson in The Big Short, with double crosses cutting deeper.

Equity opens today at Regency 20 in Brandon and Woodlands Square 20 in Oldsmar. It opens in more theaters next week.

Contact Steve Persall at spersall@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8365. Follow @StevePersall.