Anna Gunn actually gets to do things in Meera Menon's expansive high-finance drama Equity, which is almost reason enough to recommend it right there. The Breaking Bad co-star tears into the role of a rainmaking banker taking a Silicon Valley company public. For once it's Gunn whose character gets to wheedle and manipulate, to make power moves, to let loose in self-righteous anger, to scramble as betrayals threaten everything she has struggled to build. Her Naomi Bishop powers the film, her drive its drive, her scenes all will and grit sometimes disguised behind an easy smile. Menon and Gunn emphasize the work behind that smile, though. Gunn's turn is a study in performance itself: She has to work twice as hard as the guys do, and they're quick to remind her she can lose it all if she comes across as pushy or if they don't care for her dress.
Too bad that all Gunn's work and insight aren't to the benefit of a more interesting tale. Naomi wins the job of bringing a new, privacy-minded social-media platform's IPO to the stock market, and then she faces the work of winning over investors, keeping the network's founders happy, heading off rumors that the network is flawed and handling the complications of her ambitious V.P. Erin (Sarah Megan Thomas), who's bucking for a raise. The filmmakers are after a suspenseful, novelistic examination of Wall Street corruption, of the casual ways that the firewalls between bankers and traders get breached, how the rewards for white-collar crime wildly outweigh the risks. The specifics of the story, though, never fascinate as much as you might hope.