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Ballast 15 rating

Three haunted souls are thrust into co-existence in this searing debut work from Lance Hammer, a double prize winner at the Sundance Film Festival.

Drama 2007 96 mins

Director: Lance Hammer



A double prize winner at the Sundance Film Festival, and numerous awards internationally, Ballast is one of the most acclaimed American independent films of recent years, a stunningly evocative story of personal catastrophe and communal redemption. In the cold winter light of the Mississippi Delta, three lonely people stumble under the weight of a shared tragedy. Lawrence (Michael J. Smith Sr.) is paralysed with grief after the loss of his twin brother. Twelve-year-old James (JimMyron Ross) drifts into the perilous orbit of local teenagers, while his single mother, Marlee (Tarra Riggs), is too exhausted from her menial job to interpret the clues.

When sudden violence forces mother and son to leave their home in the middle of the night, they desperately flee to Lawrence’s property. Though this provides a safe harbor, it quickly rekindles the fury of a bitter, longstanding conflict between them. Writer-director Lance Hammer, together with British Cinematographer Lol Crawley (Better Things, Four Lions) and a gifted cast of local, non-professional actors have created an unflinching, profoundly humane story of lost souls forced by circumstance to seek solace in the most unlikely of places.