DVD Review: Descent (Original 'NC-17' Version)
By Jeff Swindoll Feb 4, 2008, 15:59 GMT
Maya (Rosario Dawson) is like many other college coeds, booksmart yet shy, curious about sex, yet scared to let herself go. One night she meets Jared (played by Chad Faust). When their courtship turns from romantic to horrific in a single violent act, Maya\'s world is ripped inside-out. Shutting out everyone in her life, Maya loses herself to a dark throbbing underworld of experimentation. Lured by club DJ Adrian (Marcus ...more
A woman’s world is marked by a horrific event in her life. She decides to avenge her violation by violating the man responsible for her descent. However, is she getting revenge or is she descending to the level of her attacker?
Maya (Rosario Dawson) is a shy student at a local university. She’s not one for partying and is convinced by one of her friends to attend a frat party. There she meets Jared (Chad Faust).
At first he seems somewhat overbearing, but when she decides to look past that and sit down and talk with him he appears to be more than he appears. She goes out on a date with Jared and thing seem to be going well, but when he takes her back to his place things go south. They start making out on the sofa and Maya tells him that she doesn’t want to go any further, but he doesn’t take no for an answer and rapes her.
Time passes and the Maya that we see next is a shell of her former self. She begins to frequent the bar scene and meets the charming, yet sadistic, bartender Adrian (Marcus Patrick) and begins to drift further down into despondency. She gets a position as a teacher’s assistant in the college, but is horrified to discover that Jared is one of the students in the class.
She catches him cheating on the midterm exam but seems to take pity on him and invites him back to her apartment for what she makes sound like a night of sex, but Maya has other things in store for Jared.
If you look on the back of the box you get a large box in the bottom corner warning you NC-17 for brutal rape. I’ll clue you in that it isn’t the rape that starts Maya on her descent but the one that occurs at the end of the film.
Rape isn’t something that should be exploited since it is truly a brutal crime, but I can’t help but think that the recipient of the brutality isn’t perhaps deserving of the treatment that is meted out to them. However I think that the filmmakers are telling us that even avenging yourself against those that have wronged you will still leave you damaged.
Rosario Dawson provides a great performance but some will be turned off by the brutality of the second act and this performance may be lost by the disgust or horror that the viewer feels during that scene.
The movie doesn’t offer any easy answers; so don’t go in expecting any answers because the final shot shows that the avenged is still as messed up as they were before the vengeance was enacted.
Descent is presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) and is enhanced for 16x9 televisions. Special features include a commentary with director Talia Lugacy, writer Brian Priest, and Rosario Dawson. Next are 14 minutes of deleted scenes that highlight college life.
There is a 40-minute Q&A session with Lugacy and Dawson after a screening of the film. There’s also a 13-minute set down interview with Dawson and 2 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage and a chat with Lugacy.
Descent is a shocker, especially in the final act, but it does offer the filmmakers take on sexual abuse. This abuse affects people in different ways so I’d expect a wide range of reactions to the film. The NC-17 rating is well given and Dawson is a great actress but the subject matter is harrowing.