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Descent [Import]

Rosario Dawson , Chad Faust , Talia Lugacy    NC-17   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Demanding you to answer if two wrongs make a right March 12 2008
By Jenny J.J.I. TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
As a revenge film, this is more realistic than others of it's like and it also seems more of a thinking persons revenge film. This film not only moved me in a way, but will stay with me probably for some time. I like this film but I didn't love it the way I wanted to. "Descent" isn't for the weak minded and again this film is not for the religious right and the NC-17 rating is appropriate for just two scenes. This film was good to a certain extent and the main reason it truly held me was how it played with my psych. I have always felt that a person who rapes women deserves to be punished exactly the way they have destroyed their victim(s), but this film made me hesitate a bit but didn't change my mine at all.

We see Maya (Rosario Dawson) as a bright college student, who is shy about love, but seeking a connection to another human being. At a party she meets Jared (Chad Faust), a greasy jock who is relentless with his come-ons. Falling under his charms, she takes a chance on him, leading to a romantic evening that culminates with her rape. Destroyed, Maya withdraws from her world, spending time in a complete drug-fueled fog. Only when the opportunity for revenge presents itself a year later does she begin to show signs of renewed life.

I give it 3 stars because you can see it's low budget roots but it's more arty direction does much to cover that up. I like Dawson in most of her roles and on this film it wasn't any different. In this film you really feel her damage but at the same time I feel bad for her. She throws herself into this role with wild, wanton abandon and is at times totally remarkable. While I admire the courage filming this must have taken on her part I still can't help but wish such an effort was given towards a worthier effort.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Daniel Jolley TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
Women really have it rough. So many men are cold, calculating, selfish, and cruel - and, in too many cases, violent - and each woman has to try and find the needle in a haystack that is a truly good man. I don't know how women can trust a single one of us, to be honest. Most men just don't understand that women are exquisite and precious, and that we don't even deserve their notice or attention. The lowest of the low, of course, are male rapists. I think any man who would rape a woman deserves the most severe of punishments. And that, my friends, is what Descent is all about.

Provocative, controversial, unforgettable - these adjectives and many more like them fail to even do true justice to this film. Descent is an incredibly brave and shocking film, and Rosario Dawson turns in an Oscar-worthy performance. Unfortunately, the film's NC-17 rating (which, I think all will agree, is quite justified) means the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences probably won't touch it with a ten-foot pole, but Descent certainly made waves at the Tribeca Film Festival and has had audiences talking wherever it has played. Personally, I have all kinds of respect for the filmmakers because they told the story they wanted to tell and didn't water it down in order to get an R rating (and thus open up many more marketing opportunities for the project).

The story follows Maya (Rosario Dawson), a studious young college student, as she attempts to rebuild her life after being raped. When he first introduced himself to Maya at a party, Jared (Chad Faust) came across as a slightly creepy but seemingly nice guy - weird but nice.
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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  85 reviews
48 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A gritty look at rape and revenge May 5 2008
By Jason - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Mya (Rosario Dawson) is a somewhat reclusive college student who doesn't really have interaction with many men. She's so reserved that her parents have begun to worry about her. At one early point in the movie it appears that Mya may even have some thoughts of exploring homosexuality.

I can't go further without mentioning the fact that Rosario Dawson is compelling in her performance, morphing from innocent to wrecked, and eventually to psycho-sexual yet confused strength.

Anyway, Jared is a goofy looking, cookie eating, frat-boy with stalker tendencies. He has an atrociously borderline mullet, the skull structure reminiscent of a sketch after an alien abduction, the most horribly pretentious pickup lines in history, advances more awkward than a WNBA player walking in high-heels, and an agenda so obvious that it can be from Jupiter.

It's only a matter of time before Jared's polished routine manages to convince a naïve Mya into the frat's basement. How she didn't perceive his creepiness, which jumped off the screen the minute his opening credits rolled, is beyond me. However, he was somehow seductive enough to get her to engage in some kissing. When Mya wanted it to end, Jared didn't, and he raped her. Many may feel the scene is somewhat weak, or not brutal enough for a rape scene, but it's quite possible for someone to simply go catatonic during a traumatic experience, and there is a point at which even the strongest mind gives up fighting.

Afterwards Mya is psychologically destroyed, going throughout her graduation and daily life like Jodie Foster from Nell. At night, however, she's the polar opposite, and looking for satisfaction, understanding, and healing through alcohol, drugs, and promiscuity. In this lifestyle, she begins to take pleasure dominating others - mentally, physically, and sexually.

It is only when she has gained full control of her emotions that she can trule overcome her anguish, gain her inner strength, and find the resolution for which she's been searching. The final chilling sequence is jaw-dropping, and I didn't know whether to cheer or gasp. It's truly risque, and challenges the viewer to decide whether the old "eye for an eye" adage has any merit.
64 of 76 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Demanding you to answer if two wrongs make a right. March 11 2008
By Jenny J.J.I. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
As a revenge film, this is more realistic than others of it's like and it also seems more of a thinking persons revenge film. This film not only moved me in a way, but will stay with me probably for some time. I like this film but I didn't love it the way I wanted to. "Descent" isn't for the weak minded and again this film is not for the religious right and the NC-17 rating is appropriate for just two scenes. This film was good to a certain extent and the main reason it truly held me was how it played with my psych. I have always felt that a person who rapes women deserves to be punished exactly the way they have destroyed their victim(s), but this film made me hesitate a bit but didn't change my mine at all.

We see Maya (Rosario Dawson) as a bright college student, who is shy about love, but seeking a connection to another human being. At a party she meets Jared (Chad Faust), a greasy jock who is relentless with his come-ons. Falling under his charms, she takes a chance on him, leading to a romantic evening that culminates with her rape. Destroyed, Maya withdraws from her world, spending time in a complete drug-fueled fog. Only when the opportunity for revenge presents itself a year later does she begin to show signs of renewed life.

I give it 3 stars because you can see it's low budget roots but it's more arty direction does much to cover that up. I like Dawson in most of her roles and on this film it wasn't any different. In this film you really feel her damage but at the same time I feel bad for her. She throws herself into this role with wild, wanton abandon and is at times totally remarkable. While I admire the courage filming this must have taken on her part I still can't help but wish such an effort was given towards a worthier effort. The men are the standouts however, and Chad Faust is a very brave actor indeed. It's very sad to watch this character's downfall after she is raped but it is equally sad to see all characters dismantled piece by piece at the core. Lugacy's direction is well done but I may have cut a bit of club scenes as some seemed overly long without adding much more insight.

I appreciate the end in that it makes you complete but also leaves you thinking as it does seem that maybe the revenge has also left the character a little empty as if she's somehow disembodied from it. I do think that was the right way to go but the only thing I wouldn't do is cry. The entire movie in fact does not seem to pass any judgment on it's characters, leaving all the judging to the viewer as long as you can handle the subject matter. There is no female nudity and no consensual sex; there is just rape and its psychological impact. In the end this movie leaves you awash in a residue of sadness, mildly recommended.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Disturbia in Suburbia June 9 2011
By R. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
As a rape survivor, I have seen many movies that triggered my emotions. "The Accused", for one. But "Descent" offers up an interesting twist on the aftermath of rape.

I'm not a fan of Rosario Dawson. Her acting seems a bit stiff until the final scene. But there is something compelling about this movie. It is not a cinematic masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination. Marcus Patrick provides eye candy in a very crude way. The dialogue is a bit stilted at times. Yet, it is a movie that haunts you.

Maya is an introverted, studious young woman attending a mostly white college. She is biracial and this plays an important role in her character's development. She does not truly consider her racial identity until she is date-raped by a jock, who expresses his desire and hatred for black women while assaulting her. Maya is then faced with the task of putting her life back together and trying to heal. She numbs the pain by engaging in a self-destructive lifestyle. She also plots the ultimate vengeance against her attacker.

"Descent" is painful. It is dark and disturbing and powerful. Like other reviewers have stated, it makes you question the ethics of "an eye for an eye".

This film stirred many emotions within me and it made me recall my own trauma, something I have always run away from. I cheered Maya on but I was also strangely sympathetic towards her rapist. It is obvious that he is a very weak, cowardly person with low self-esteem. He lacks control of his own life and raping Maya was a way to gain dominance over someone weaker than himself. Rape is generally about power, after all. Jared is simply a little boy trying to assert his masculinity.

"Descent" makes me think not only about the impact of rape, but also about sexism and racism. Maya feels out of place at her college but her position in society as a woman of color becomes clear when Jared calls her vile racist epithets while raping her. I am a biracial woman and the combination of sexual assault and racism brought tears to my eyes.

In all, I can only recommend this movie to viewers with an open mind. It is better to watch it without expectations. Just keep an open mind. It isn't for the faint of heart.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Utter crap...or maybe it's revenge porn. March 27 2010
By Shemp-Masta-Flash - Published on Amazon.com
An independent film, Descent came out in 2007, starring and produced by Rosario Dawson. Why have the collective We, duh movie-going/renting audience, not heard of this movie considering it stars someone of Ms. Dawson's renown? A damn good reason: It's not very good at all. Maya (Dawson) is an intelligent, shy, introverted, dating/relationship-less college student. We learn this because Maya is on the phone talking to her mom and she "invents" a nonexistent beau for her mom's benefit. First off, Ms. Dawson seems--looks--too self-assured (and a little too old, but that's not too big a dealbreaker) to be this doe-eyed character, and we all know that women as beautiful as Dawson are all-too-often in real life these wallflower-ish characters. (To put it a little more plainly, my Inner Guy chortled, "Yeah, right! Gals that look like her are lonely!" If you believe that Dawson, who wasn't even nerd-ed down for the role, could be such a character, then you'll likely buy Sandra Bullock as the snorting ugly-duckling FBI agent in Miss Congeniality.) Fast-forward a little: Maya meets Jared (the appropriate-monikered Chad Faust...that's right, Faust), a smug preppie-jock type that might as well be wearing a T-shirt or button saying, "Smooth-talking Sociopath." (In horror films, the equivalent: When someone or a group of people are lost on a nasty rainy night, they ask directions from a hunchbacked, clubfooted fellow that looks like Ernest Borgnine with a cleft palette---naturally, they follow his directions and end up with their heads mounted on a demented hillbilly's living room wall.) Maya rebuffs Jared initially, but his "charms" wear her down and she goes on what seems like a nice date with him. (It's the "nice" ones you have to watch out for. Booga!) As we can see lumbering up Fifth Avenue, Maya is date-raped. (Fade To Black.) Does Maya report him to the police or campus authorities? Does she get counseling? Does she even confide in her (female) best pal?

We never find out. Maya becomes withdrawn. The guys she works with think she's a...well, what else do white good-looking college-age guys say to each other when a lady is withdrawn or distant? ("She's a ______, haw, high-five me, guys!") Why, they're insensitive jerks, of course! (We're all scum.) Maya takes to hanging out in a shadowy techno/house-driven dance club & begins her initial "descent", and...well, it's hard to say what happens. It's hard to say because it's hard to SEE, literally--it's implied Maya gets sucked into an underworld of artsy-fartsy-spooky-kookie types, drugs, and casual (group?) sex, but like many of these clubs, the lighting is low and/or intentionally blurry. Plus we never really see Maya ACTUALLY participating. OK, director/writer Talia Lugacy, lemme get this straight: You'll show your central character getting raped but you won't show her WILLINGLY engaging in acts of drugging & casual sex? She also falls under the "spell" of Adrian, a Svengali-like club DJ who's muscularly ripped to Infinity. Unlike Taxi Driver, Descent doesn't believably or compellingly depict Maya's descent into mental/emotional havoc, or, also like Taxi Driver, into an avenging angel. SPOILERS AHEAD. Maya encounters Jared again. She lures him to her boudoir, she chains him to her bed and then has Adrian come in and administer "payback" upon Jared in the form of "up his aisle." This scene seems to go on forever and is more graphic than Maya's violation. I also got the notion that maxi-stud Adrian was relishing his application of "justice" for more than just Maya's sake. The last shot in the movie is a tear falling from Maya's eye (while Adrian and Jared are still "engaged"), and the downcast look on her face is NOT one of victory or satisfaction.

I may've made Descent seem "better" than it is. In suggesting the concept of revenge as ultimately unsatisfying, that a victim could eventually become what s/he despises in their victimizer--in that sense, Descent is a "success." As a movie, with Dawson miscast, with zero convincing character development, the gosh-I-wish-I-were-Stanley-Kubrick camera angles, drab lighting, a predictable storyline, the "white men suck" conceit (Did I mention Adrian is African-American? Whoo, get that honkie's hiney, Adrian!), trivializing important subjects (date rape and vengeance), and pacing that feels like waiting in line at the Post Office two days before Christmas, Descent is poppycock, err, I mean, arty crap of the lowest order.
42 of 52 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Brillant Evocative Film. HORRIBLE!!! Dvd Transfer. Feb. 12 2008
By Chris P. Decostanza - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
i am in agreement with what has been said of the film by the reviews already
on this page. my comment therefore is about the dvd itself. a most dis-
appointing transfer. especially in the final scene when Mia gets her revenge
on Jarrod. when i saw the film in theaters everything was crisp clear and
sharp but on the dvd leads Rosario Dawson, Chad Faust and Marcus Patrick
look like orange people from Mars. not only that but the rest of the screen
is so dark you can hardly differentiate anything as you could cleary do so in theaters. again one of the most disappointing dvd transfers ever.
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