Descent DVD Review
by Kam Williams
DVD Drama Stars Rosario Dawson as Revenge-Minded Rape Victim
Maya (Rosario Dawson) is a college student with a bright future until the fateful night she meets Jared (Chad Faust) at a party on campus. Beguiled by the exotic beauty of the ethnically-ambiguous brainiac, the buff jock puts his moves on her.
Although she's initially put off by the flirtatious football player's lame pickup lines, against her better judgment, Maya still rewards his persistence by agreeing to see him again. Eventually, she accepts an invitation back to his bachelor pad, only to see his evil side suddenly emerge.
She makes it clear that she's not ready for intimacy, yet Jared just won't take "no" for an answer. And at this juncture, he makes a Jekyll and Hyde transformation into a monster. Given his physique, Maya doesn't stand a chance when he decides to have his way with her, and during the brutal rape which ensues, the sicko adds insult to injury by referring to her by disparaging epithets such as "bitch" and "baboon" in an expletive-laced diatribe.
Maya is left too traumatized by the violation to report it to the authorities, and instead starts spiraling down a self-destructive path which includes drug abuse and sexual promiscuity. This sordid turn of events serve as the tragic prelude underpinning Descent, an intriguing character study which is as much a harrowing mood piece as it is a female empowerment revenge flick.
For, by the next semester, Maya's once perky persona has degenerated into the introspective edginess of a hopelessly tortured soul, a development that makes her motivations almost impossible to read. Rosario Dawson exhibits a previously unseen range, here, more than meeting the challenge of the most emotionally-demanding role of her career.
A claustrophobic psychological thriller guaranteed to keep you guessing all the way until the shocking conclusion.
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for profanity, ethnic slurs, drug use and a brutal rape.
Running time: 98 minutes
Studio: City Lights Home Entertainment
DVD Deleted scenes, exclusive interviews, plus a commentary with Rosario Dawson and the director.
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