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 Her personality changes, she's withdrawn; she graduates and takes a job at a clothing store, staying apart from co-workers.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
This revenge-minded, artsy exploitation flick starts honestly enough, portraying college life and the first of two horrific acts with a certain integrity. From there it feels to be downhill with poorly developed characterizations giving way to the blatantly "shocking" overextended finale.
Rosario Dawson is always someone I enjoy watching on-screen, having a spiritual warmth few young actresses can match. I went into Descent banking on the fact that, exploitation piece or not, Dawson would validate the viewing in a rare indie title role. Suffice it to say my high expectations did not match up to her underwritten, partially gimmicky involvement in this feature. She certainly makes the whole thing bearable with her innate sensitivity but in the end cannot compensate for what seems to be the product of an angered female filmmaker lashing out at sexism in a fairly unproductive manner.
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