Thursday, March 6, 2008

sick all week, and another medicore movie to boot...


Yowza, Negative Pleasure has, as of this past week, gotten over 3,000 hits. I put the counter on during October, so that's something like 600 hits a month. Pretty cool. Thanks to all of you have been reading. I encourage you all to post comments and to email your comments and suggestions to me. I'm always interested in hearing feedback, suggestions, comments, criticisms etc.


Meanwhile, I wanted to review the recent film "Descent" this time. Not to be confused with the British horror movie "The Descent" (which was pretty decent) from a few years ago, "Descent" stars Rosario Dawson as a young college student in New York who is raped by a frat boy, goes through a period of self-discovery, then seeks vengeance on her rapist. I'm not sure why, but I seem to be encountering alot of movies about rape lately. "Mysterious Skin," "Monster,"The Girl Next Door" and probably some other stuff I'm forgetting all deal with various forms of sexual abuse. I'm getting a little tired of watching this stuff. It's not like I seek it out, but film after film, I've got all this rape up in my face. It's a bit much.


Anyway, the rape-revenge film is a tried and true exploitation subgenre, with highlights and lowlights like "Ms.45," "I Spit on Your Grave," "Sudden Impact" and "Steel & Lace." "Descent," directed by Talia Lugacy, is pretty much the bottom of the barrel. I mean, "I Spit on Your Grave" isn't a great film, but it definitely packs a really strong, guttural emotional punch. Even the Clint "I'm Highly Overrated and Kind of a Right Wing Creep" Eastwood helmed Dirty Harry flick "Sudden Impact" has its' moments (gotta love that Sondra Locke). "Descent," meanwhile is deadly dull and overwhelmingly ponderous and self-important. I did enjoy looking at pretty Rosario Dawson for close to two otherwise insufferable hours, but unfortunately pretty much everything the filmmakers had her do or say was pretty stupid.


Stylistically, and in terms of content, "Descent" is really trite. After being raped, Dawson's character falls in with this seamy subcultural underworld of techno DJ's who do coke and have lots of sex. It's just, I dunno, lame, and, worse, it doesn't ring true. The finale features a lengthy scene in which the frat boy rapist is himself raped, first by Dawson with a dildo, then by one of her dangerous drum and bass subcultural DJ cliche lameass bullshit bad movie bad guy stupid bullshit friends, and it really sort of gets to the main problem with this movie, which is that ultimately, it doesn't seem to be about anything, except perhaps setting up this long, graphic revenge-rape sequence. Rape, obviously, is a really serious subject, and it stands to reason that a movie about such a serious subject should have some kind of point-of-view, or at least a purpose, beyond the obvious "rape is bad," and the notion that the rapist should get some kind of comeuppance. Of course, when that comeuppance is rape itself, it begs the question is the revenger any better than her victimizer, but the puddle deep philosophizing of a flick like "Descent" can't seem to deal with any heavy thought like that, so instead of dealing with the moral consequences of revenge, it just ends ambiguously. As someone who has studied, at least to some extent, trauma, I would have liked to seen a deeper examination of the effect such a demoralizing event would have on the victim's life, and really get into her motivations for seeking revenge. But, no, "Descent" chooses to remain fairly vague on pretty much everything. In the end, this film just isn't very good.


I dunno, unless you're a big fan of rape, there's really not much to recommend here. I do like Rosario Dawson as an actress but I really have no idea why. She's in a bunch of movies that are kind of alright, but mostly she seems to star in things I have no real interest in seeing. Am I so shallow as to be so easily seduced by a pretty face and the fact that I hear she reads comic books? Apparently, yes, I am, and I suffered for it by having to sit through "Descent."


Here's hoping the next few movies I watch are relatively rape-less.

Until then...

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