Recently we drew up a list of films that could benefit from being remade with a gender-flipped cast. One of these movies was the Michael
Mann thriller Heat – we liked the
idea of the Al Pacino/Robert DeNiro cops ‘n’ robbers classic being redone with
a pair of steely female protagonists, super-cool adversaries exchanging loaded
Well, someone’s clearly heard our prayers, because Equity is more than a little Heat-like. But instead of bank heists
and interminable gun battles, Meera Menon’s film moves the action to the
financial sector and focuses on the legal blinking match between its two stars.
Alysia Reiner (Orange Is The New Black)
is the ‘cop’, a federal agent suspicious of her old school friend, an
investment banker played by Anna Gunn (Breaking
Bad) who may or may not be the ‘robber’.
two major things. The first is how it establishes the (sadly unusual) central female
pairing in a way that feels natural rather than token. Secondly, it’s a financial thriller that is
comprehensible and thrilling – even if you understand little about investment
banking – without being condescending or glib.
These two achievements are linked. Most films about Wall
Street depict the district as an arena in which male egos can run
amok; by cutting through the testosterone fug, Equity doesn’t just give us an all-too-rare female-financier perspective,
but reveals more about the actual workings of the financial sector.
That’s not to say that men aren’t represented – there are a
couple of scenes that compress the hyper-masculine competitiveness of The Wolf of Wall Street into a few sly
minutes – but the film wisely focuses on Gunn’s ambitious and frustrated banker
Naomi Bishop as she negotiates federal investigations, a feckless cocky Zuckerberg-type
entrepreneur, glass ceilings, an untrustworthy ex (James Purefoy, purring), and
her own ability to ‘rub people up the wrong way’.
Equity is produced
by two of its stars, Reiner and Sarah Megan Thomas (the latter giving a lovely
brittle turn as Bishop’s protégé), who obviously have political as well as artistic motives. Most of the time Equity’s feminism feels organic, but there are a few instances when
the script is so on-message that it goes from ‘pointed’ to ‘blatant’: one
character is shown reading an online article called ‘Why Women Still Can’t Have It All’, and Gunn’s Bishop
gives a Wall Street-esque speech that
is essentially ‘greed is good (for women too!).
These blips only stand out, however, because the rest of Equity feels sufficiently ambiguous and
subtle – and, in being so, it successfully reclaims an entire movie genre from
the boys’ club. Now, if only we could get someone to make a courtroom drama
called 12 Angry Women.
|What||Equity film review|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
02 Sep 16 – 02 Nov 16, Times vary
|Price||£determined by cinema|
|Website||Click here for more details|