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Descent

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Descent
Directed by Talia Lugacy
City Lights Pictures
Opens August 10
Village East

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After 19-year-old Maya (Rosario Dawson), intellectually gifted but emotionally bruised and guarded, is raped by fellow college student Jared (Chad Faust), she pulls further inward, isolating herself with cinema's patented badge of post-sexual-assault anguish: a severe new haircut. Then, thanks to Adrian (Marcus Patrick)—a magnetic, omnisexual pied piper of club life with a palpable dark vibe— she falls into an escapist spiral of drugs and sex, a free fall that is artily rendered by writer-director Talia Lugacy. Descent wants desperately to be a provocative tale of female revenge and the unexpected fallout not only from the rape it- self, but also its carefully plotted payback. That goal is short-circuited, however, by the fact that Descent not a smart film: There are endless obvious omissions (does Maya tell anyone—cops, family, her old roommate—about the rape?) and gaps in character logic that insult the audience's intelligence. There are also a handful of interesting moments—the lesbo-erotic spark between Maya and her ex-roommate, Jared's unexpected reaction to his comeuppance— but those are quickly discarded, leaving only a well-acted trifle straining to be a hard-hitting morality play.

 
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