Equity is a 2016 American financial thriller film directed by Meera Menon, written by Amy Fox and starring Anna Gunn, James Purefoy, Sarah Megan Thomas, and Alysia Reiner.
The film premiered In Competition at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival on January 25, 2016. Shortly before its premiere, it was acquired for theatrical distribution by Sony Pictures Classics and was released in the United States on July 29, 2016 to positive critical reviews.
Naomi Bishop (Anna Gunn), is a senior investment banker who deals with IPOs. After her latest project is undervalued she faces professional setbacks including clients losing confidence in her work. To bounce back she is hired to handle the IPO for Cachet, a privacy company with a social networking platform.
Around the same time Naomi bumps into Samantha Ryan, (Alysia Reiner), an old college classmate who now works as a public attorney. Unbeknownst to Naomi, Samantha is trying to investigate Naomi's on again off again boyfriend Michael Connor (James Purefoy), a broker who Samantha suspects is involved insider trading. Michael tries to get information from Naomi about Cachet but fails.
While doing due diligence researching the company, Naomi learns from Maren, one of the coders, that Cachet is hackable. Despite the nagging feeling that something is wrong, the numbers check out and Naomi continues to try to sell the shares of the company to investors. Michael, who has had no new insider trading tips to give, faces pressure and tries unsuccessfully to hack into Naomi's phone.
Erin Manning (Sarah Megan Thomas), Naomi's VP, learns that Maren has been fired. She tries to warn Naomi of the fact and winds up going to Michael's home and ends up leaking the information to him in the hopes that he will be able to get her a promotion, something Naomi has been unable to do for her. Michael leaks the tips to his friends and then sends the story to an old college roommate who is now a tech journalist.
Naomi figures out that it was Erin who betrayed her, based on her having a green pen, the same type of pens that Michael uses. Regardless, when the shares open, confidence is lost and the company loses a third of its value on the first day of trading.
Michael moves jobs to Titanite, neglecting to take Erin with him. Naomi is fired, while Erin assumes her position. Unable to crack the case from the outside, Samantha goes to interview for a corporate position, pretending that she is in it for the money and borrowing a speech she heard Naomi give at an alumni event.Anna Gunn as Naomi Bishop
James Purefoy as Michael Connor
Sarah Megan Thomas as Erin Manning
Alysia Reiner as Samantha Ryan
Craig Bierko as Benji Akers
Margaret Colin as Attorney Cahn
Nate Corddry as Cory
Samuel Roukin as Ed
Lee Tergesen as Randall
Sophie von Haselberg as Marin
James Naughton as John
Meera Menon was brought on board to direct in March 2015. Anna Gunn signed on to star in June 2015 with James Purefoy joining shortly after.
Equity grossed $1.6 million in the United States and Canada and $65,116 in other territories for a worldwide total of $1.7 million. Its widest release was in 255 theaters.
Equity has received positive reviews from critics. On review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 81%, based on 84 reviews, with an average rating of 6.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Equity brings a welcome change of perspective to the financial thriller genre, along with a nuanced story and a terrific cast led by a powerful effort from Anna Gunn." Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average rating to reviews from mainstream critics, gives the film a score of 68 out of 100, based on 29 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky of The A.V. Club wrote: "Equity may not be the fanciest or flashiest of financial thrillers—more like off-brand David Fincher or Steven Soderbergh—but it gets the job done. Its major players are all women trying to make careers in boys’ club professions [...]; that's all the motivation the movie offers and perhaps all that it really needs. It skips past the usual handwringing over the temptations of capitalist wealth and just gets right to the risk-taking and double-crossing, assuming (rightly) that viewers don't need a character to have a backstory, a tragic secret, and a dead spouse, best friend, or parent to understand why they'd do anything to hold on to a career."