First-time producer Rosario Dawson chooses challenging role

Descent

on August 10, 2007 by Annlee Ellingson
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In her first outing as a producer, Rosario Dawson has selected challenging material that succeeds emotionally if not technically—an unlikely feat achieved due to the empathetic pull of the experiences depicted in the film.

Dawson plays Maya, a conservative undergrad who is eager to further her academic career with a teaching post and builds houses in her spare time. Still smarting from a failed relationship, she tentatively agrees to chat with frat boy Jared (Chad Faust) at a party. Although his charms may be lost on the audience—his phony flatteries are as cringe-inducing as his greasy hair—she agrees to a romantic date and after-dinner drink at his apartment.

That night, in a scene that terrifyingly demonstrates how easily a good time can transition to a very, very bad time, she is date-raped. The event is emotionally devastating, and she zones out through a summer of a retail job and clubbing. In the fall, Maya finds that Jared is a student in her classroom. The opportunity for revenge presents itself, but when her accomplice Adrian (Marcus Patrick) asks, “Everything's okay now, right?,” the answer isn't clear.

With an hour separating the principal events, the plot merely marks time, and the dialogue isn't inspired enough to maintain interest. Missing are reaction shots, as too often the camera stays glued to Maya's expression at key moments. What's initially effective as a cinematic device gives way to the suspicion that there simply wasn't enough coverage in the offending scene.

Still, some of the content is sexy, the violations awful, and the fear and dread upon her first post-rape encounter with her attacker palpable. Despite the opaque filmmaking, somehow feeling is communicated.
Distributor: City Lights
Cast: Rosario Dawson, Marcus Patrick and Chad Faust
Director: Talia Lugacy
Screenwriters: Talia Lugacy and Brian Priest
Producers: Rosario Dawson, Morris S. Levy, Talia Lugacy and Brian Priest
Genre: Drama
Rating: NC-17 for a brutal rape
Running time: 104 min.
Release date: August 10, 2007 NY
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