Dave White
Descent Review

Dave's Rating:


" … what it doesn't do: move beyond the obvious."

Who's in It: Rosario Dawson, Chad Faust, Marcus Patrick

The Basics: Rosario Dawson is a university undergraduate who accepts a date from a cheesy pretty-boy and winds up raped in his basement apartment. She doesn't report the crime, instead withdrawing for an entire summer into her own shock and rage. She becomes a quiet observer of male power and aggression, absorbing the lessons on display until fall semester brings the rapist back into her life and she's ready to exact her own brand of revenge.

What's the Deal? As female revenge dramas go, this is the flipside of Death Proof — the second half of Grindhouse where eye-for-an-eye justice is presented as something necessary (that movie sets up a kill-or-be-killed scenario that no one can really back out of) and cheer-worthy. It also goths up the chilly brutality of Gaspar Noe's Irreversible, and it adds a realistically soul-searching quality lacking from the shock classic I Spit On Your Grave. But here's what it doesn't do: move beyond the obvious.

That Obvious Stuff: It's all about where director Talia Lugacy points her camera, like at the sadly blank face of a mannequin that Dawson has to dress and re-dress or at a football team in a locker room acting out gay humiliation fantasies. She doesn't trust you to get the point without extended visual metaphors, and it cuts the movie off at the legs.

Who's Great: Rosario Dawson. She's got a natural self-possession that you get to watch her dismantle onscreen. Even when the script and direction go the easy route, she maintains a grim, hard edge. Anyone less cool than her would have sunk the whole thing.

Who Shouldn't See It: Anyone who can't deal with watching very long scenes of brutal rape and other sexual violence. There are exactly two of those sequences here, and they'll seem endless if you're a very sensitive viewer.


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