In the winter of her senior year, Maya talks to Jared at a frat party, accepts his invitation to dinner at a nice restaurant, then goes to his apartment, just to talk. He assaults her. Her personality changes, she's withdrawn; she graduates and takes a job at a clothing store, staying apart from co-workers. At night, she's someone else: a beauty at the club scene, dancing, seductive, sniffing cocaine, becoming the friend of a heavy hitter. She thinks about her racial identity. That fall, she's a grad student, and Jared is in an exam she proctors. She invites him to her apartment; he's certain she's stuck on him. Written by
Love Rosario Dawson, think she's one of the finest actresses of the modern era.
Descent seems to be more about self-empowerment than anything else. It's the consistent undertone in everything in the film. The dialog is flat, the characters seemingly intentionally bland and one sided. The only consistency is the representation of self-empowerment in the characters and Rosario's journey from self empowerment to loss of empowerment and back again.
Pitching this as a rape classic isn't appropriate, and that's probably why so many people don't enjoy the film. The standard 'rape' audience wouldn't particularly like this film, and maybe that's the point? The film asks more questions than it answers, and it does confront it's target audience, whether they like it or not. There's a compelling relationship between the characters and the target audience and while the film doesn't slap the audience across the face with self-righteous audacity it does engage the viewer for what may or may not be, all the wrong reasons.
Descent is a good film which IMHO is severely under-rated.
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