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Descent Reviews

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Christian C

Super Reviewer

October 19, 2012
Strange and unsettling -- apparently for no reason.

Super Reviewer

July 2, 2012
After a brutal date rape, a woman discovers her sexual power and the need for revenge.
Dark in its subject matter and the complexion of the film, Descent whiles most of its 100 minutes in as many depressing and angering scenes one could imagine, and there's not a single moment of comic relief. There are multiple rape scenes in this film, each of which goes on longer than we're used to seeing. I understand that the point of the film may be realism, but there's a line between wallowing in the mire and effective dramatic presentation of horrid events, and Descent dove off the cliff of wallowing.
Also, I wonder about what the film is saying. Maya is raped, and in response, she discovers her ability to manipulate others using her sexuality. Does this suggest that a woman's sexual power is tantamount to "reverse rape?" Does the discovery of one's sexual power mark a "descent?" Whatever the concept behind freshman director Talia Lugacy's filmm is, it isn't clear and could be debated.
Jared is a douche from the beginning, and the elevated dialogue that Chad Faust and Rosario Dawson are forced to utter makes the dynamic even more unrealistic. Faust's performance is bad because he fails to find anything worth liking in Jared, and Dawson's performance is good because despite it all, she finds something that draws her character to him and she can somehow make the bad writing seem natural.
Overall, Descent is remarkably disturbing and dark, and that's all it is, a catalog of horrors with no redeeming through-line.
_kelly .

Super Reviewer

April 28, 2008
Plot Spoilers Necessarily Throughout This Review I saw this movie by accident, thinking I had downloaded "The Descent", the horror movie about creatures attacking a group of cave climbers/campers who are all college age girls. So even through, the first rape scene, I thought, this is just another crappy B horror movie trying to start off by being "edgy", so I kept watching through Dawson's character waking up in the dilapidated drug house, thinking to myself "yeah this is probably just a drama and if it is not, it's a tacky convention to parallel *this* parabolic descent story with some creature-killin-in-caves and her redeeming herself by killing creatures, so she better torture that lil football poofter". Problem is, I don't think this is that great of a performance from Dawson, just because you do a rape movie doesn't make your career. And the movie fails on its point, because call me fucked up, but I enjoyed the revenge rape scene. Yup I don't mind some stuck up jock getting his ass split and kind of liking it, so for me that totally washes out the scene of Dawson's character getting raped. Compare this film to "O Fantasma", a real art-house movie that also includes plotted homosexual rape, and you will see that "Descent" cannot compare when it comes to depicting a character sliding into an amoral and degraded existence, which is ultimately the point of this movie, not all the graphic rape bookending the fall, but those are really the only compelling moments, which is never good for a director to say, "well at least it's got good rape scenes". So sadly that means the whole middle of the movie could have been gutted, so next time this director wants to do an effective feature, they may want to consider a rewrite to make sure there is sufficient material to cover it, instead of duping me into watching a piece that is seventy minutes too long.

"So Fucked Up" highlight: using a bedpost to get the anal rape started; that I was aroused by the muscley latin guy revenge raping the frat twat

Super Reviewer

December 29, 2008
Yawn! Bloody dull and sicko R-rated drama I ever saw about the exact revenge of a date-raped co-ed. I couldn't stand and watch the final scene of co-ed's revenge upon her attacker.
Daniel P

Super Reviewer

September 6, 2008
Spoilers ahead. Rosario Dawson's performance is undeniably magnificent in Descent - comparisons to Hilary Swank in Boys Don't Cry and Robert DeNiro in Taxi Driver perhaps overstating it a little, but still exceptionally good. Talia Lugacy's direction is fairly strong, and there's some inventive techniques and experimentation with color schemes and shutter speeds that give the film a dreamlike/drunk feeling that works surprisingly well. Little else does, however. A rape revenge tale that tries to skewer things in a 'shocking' finale, but to be honest, the anal rape of Jared was a little ridiculous and - I know this is going to make me sound totally disturbed - the way it was set up and filmed made it a bit... erotic. Ahem. Besides which, I totally do not buy that Maya would fall for Jared at the beginning - she's supposed to be an intelligent young woman (studying PSYCHOLOGY for fuckssake), yet doesn't see the obvious the call is coming from inside the house type warnings; Jared is clearly a scummy, cringey douche. There's also two scenes that thoroughly pissed me off - the first has Jared being bullied in the locker-room - it's a heavy handed way of saying 'this is why Jared is fucked up' and it's skin-crawlingly terrible. The second has Jared leaving an identical next-date follow-up message on, presumably, a second potential victim's answerphone; word-for-word the same as that left on Maya's phone earlier in the film. Descent simply did not need this scene - I found it completely patronising and it's intent is obvious and contrived, much like the whole film, really.

Super Reviewer

December 28, 2007
Now, here's an interesting movie with a very sensitive issue at hand. An occurance that happens too often in this world. Rosario Dawson is definitely remarkable, it's very interesting to see her take on more diverse roles. Worth seeing!
October 14, 2012
For a movie called Descent, the low is nowhere near low enough. For movie about revenge, the revenge is nowhere near enough. Sure, I guess all things being equal one rape is revenged by another--but (and call me a product of Kill Bill-type revenge movies) the fact that she couldn't extract the revenge herself makes it a bit hollow. Maybe it doesn't matter--HE got just deserts (even though I would have liked to see him get more than that) and perhaps that is what it's all about. And ending the movie with what felt like a 10-minute rape scene is just... eh. Eh. Eh. That's this movie. Eh. Good performance by Dawson, though. And hell, even Faust did a great job in making us hate his character.
May 26, 2012
Have you ever seen a film that lacks in secondary character development, but delivers so well on other levels that it becomes a moot point? Well, this film is a perfect example. I know everyone knows about the brutal rape scene at the end (which btw, I find it sad that people do not see Maya's rape as just as brutal), but I invite everyone to look into his eyes. You can literally see his spirit being broken, which is what he did to Maya. I honestly thought Chad Faust did an amazing job in this scene because his expressions portrayed exactly the look of blank shock that rape survivors have and carry for years to come. I also loved the ending that showed even with retribution, the pain does not leave. It is more than just about a person going to jail or getting the same done to them. You can punish the physical but the spirit is what's left hurting. Loved it!
January 2, 2012
Rosario Dawson gives an emotional performance of a woman who is suffering from the aftermath of being raped. She tries to rebuild her life, but you see she is still struggling. The film takes a dramatic turn when the revenge plot is introduced at the end.
July 17, 2010
Shock movie on the same level as the infamous Irreversible. But with the shoe on the other foot, so to speak. Pretty hamfisted and disturbing, but I guess that's what they were going for.
July 7, 2009
WTF! This movie was disturbing. It lagged in some places and was a little confusing. I think that it could have been edited better. Also they could have added more material that drove the store in the right direction.

Better luck next time, Talia.
September 20, 2007
This movie sounded like a cool movie and had one of my favorite actresses in it (Rosario Dawson) but it was horrible!!! From the slow moving plot to the gay sex scenes. It was bad from start to finish. Bad acting, very boring and lots of male nudity along with gay scenes makes this film unbearable to watch. Never see this film...ever! It doesn't even deserve a half a star it was so bad but it was the lowest score I could put.
August 28, 2008
Very interesting movie.The copy I got had a little problem working so I missed a little here and there but I liked the way this one worked out.Ahhh,sweet revenge.
March 30, 2008
I probably wouldn't recommend this to most just because this is extremely difficult to watch. Rosario Dawson does a great job portraying a young woman whose life is completely transformed after a graphic, all-too-realistic scene of rape. I say transformed because her character's response to what happened to her is an extreme conflict between cold and icy distance and wreckless promiscuity. This is the first film I've seen since "Extremities" that deals with the rage and vengeance of rape survivors with an unflinching eye. The one weakness I found here was that we don't get more than the surface of her character's emotions in this, which are all obvious and understandable. Unlike "Extremities", which through the use of the three female characters, we get a challenging, thought-provoking dialogue, that's missing here, so I feel like there was a missed opportunity to have a frank discussion of the feelings, the rage, the depression, that her character undergoes and how she ultimately expresses it.
March 29, 2008
descent is not even decent. It took me nearly a week to watch its groveling decadence of dark dens and sordid sinnery. Maybe it was just too art-house for this flat forehead, but it's not a worthy story. It lacks sympathetic characters, and its over-endowed with cliche'd film noire pans and trucks and maudlin music ad nauseum... When it abruptly ended, I was left wanting less.
February 11, 2008
wtf, move over house of dead, this is the worst movie i've ever seen. HORRIBLE are you kidding me??? simply horrible
February 8, 2008
Rosario does a real good job with her character's transformation from victim to predator. There were some parts in the movie that really went too long with no real reason to be in the movie other than filler leading to the ending.
July 27, 2007
WOW. This may be one of the worst movies I've ever seen. EVER!!! I saw it for free, while I was volunteering at the Tribeca Film Festival, and I still felt robbed. I love Rosario Dawson. She is way hot and seems like a cool chick. She even gave a good performance in this crap flick. But man this movie was AWFUL!!!!
October 14, 2013
Watched this movie and felt with a half-way decent director it could have been really good revenge movie. Instead it's slow and drawn out. The act of rape committed against Maya was not nearly as violent as it could have been. If her rape was half as sickening and degrading as "Jared's" I could justify, for lack of a better term, his rape. I actually felt his pain and wanted to save him.
August 30, 2013
I really can't give this movie a rating any higher...mainly because there is not much to it outside of rape scenes. People deal with things in different ways psychologically and not many people would go this dark in real life but likely would have THOUGHT about it. Descent is that pure indulgence of acting on that thought and at least for me it was vicariously satisfying. I'm not ashamed to admit it and neither is this movie.

Sidenote- Anyone else notice Rosario's costars from Death Proof?
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