Review: 'Ballast'

( Unrated ) ( Monitor Movie Guide )

Drama set in a Mississippi Delta township follows the life of a single mother and her son who struggle to subsist.

Courtesy of Lol Crawley / Alluvial Film Company
JimMyron Ross as James and Tarra Riggs as Marlee in"Ballast," an Alluvial Film Company production and release.

"Ballast" lacks ballast. Much praised by aficionados of minimalist indie cinema – hey, who needs a plot when you've got mood? – it's a wearying slog through anomie in a Mississippi Delta township. It centers on three lost souls. At 12, James (JimMyron Ross) already looks preternaturally old – poverty is aging him. His single mother Marlee (Tarra Riggs) works long hours in a cruddy job and leaves the boy to his own delinquent devices. His uncle Lawrence (Micheal J. Smith), who owns a highway convenience store, spends much of his time in a state of depressed catatonia. Their lives come together in ways that are meant to be more resonant, more true, than the usual cooked-up Hollywood scenario. But "Ballast" is pretty cooked, too – it offers up its meager lyricism as a testimonial to authenticity. Director Lance Hammer has a good eye for compositions featuring windswept nothingness, but he's less sure of how to position his actors in his tableaux. There is reason to take notice of "Ballast," though – Riggs's performance. Although she did not have much professional experience prior to this film, she has a natural ease before the camera and a gift for unveiling emotion with the simplest, and thus most devastating, of means. Grade: C (Unrated.)

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
QR Code to Review: 'Ballast'
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today