First Hit: Although the story could have been interesting, the acting and execution didn’t stand up to the story that was available.
This film is about three of things: It is about how a company goes public (IPO). It is about women and their place in Wall Street banks and investment companies. And lastly it is about the cheating, greed, and fraud on Wall Street and how money is the root of these issues.
Unfortunately, the drive from the main character Naomi Bishop (Anna Gunn) was a turn off. Not because of her aggressive behavior but there was little that was likable about her character. There was no charm and little compassion. She is supposed to be smart and wants to be a company “rainmaker” but she’s not people smart nor does she connect with others and it shows. She wasn’t likable.
Her part time lover Michael Conner (James Purefoy) is part of the same company but is in the brokerage area. He’s a ruthless broker, yet charming and has a way of coercing information through intelligence and charm. He does this to take advantage of ill begotten information and make money for himself and others.
When we see him trying to obtain information from Naomi’s phone while they sleep together, you get his deep seated lack of integrity. He never really cares about anyone in this film except about himself. Naomi’s right hand person Erin Manning (Sarah Megan Thomas) is being held back by Naomi. She continues to do excellent work for Naomi but is treated indifferently and oppressively by her boss.
This is where I began to dislike Naomi. She didn’t care about someone she was supposed to be mentoring. The film follows the IPO of a privacy software company run by a young arrogant guy named Ed (Samuel Roukin). He’s got a programmer who finds a hole in the security and he reacts poorly which puts his IPO in danger.
This could have been a very good film, but because the story was never set up to like anyone, nor to create an in-depth view of the characters, I was left to just watch poorly defined characters (except Samantha – Alysia Reiner) vie to one up each other in mediocre ways.
Gunn was unlikable. Yes, the role called for it, but as the main character it is important to find something to make me (and the audience) want to root for her, I couldn’t. Purefoy was charming and precisely the type of uncaring person you’d expect to find for a broker/banker. He was appropriately self-serving, just as he shared about how his kids only see him as an allowance giver. Thomas was one of the more interesting and better acted characters. Reiner as the Federal Attorney who wanted to find inappropriate and illegal collusion was engaging. She was the only one who seemed to have an interesting background and was allowed to grow in the film. Roukin was good enough in the arrogance department to be the kind of Silicon Valley company CEO. Amy Fox created a mediocre screenplay from a strong story by Thomas. Meera Menon didn’t bring this film to life very well. Despite the well intentioned ideas of the film, the execution was poor.
Overall: I had high hopes for this film, but when there isn’t anyone to care about, I ended up not caring.