Save Big On Open-Box & Pre-owned: Buy "Ballast” from Amazon Warehouse Deals and save 74% off the $29.95 list price. Product is eligible for Amazon's 30-day returns policy and Prime or FREE Shipping. See all Open-Box & Pre-owned offers from Amazon Warehouse Deals.
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Special Offers and Product Promotions
WINNER: BEST DIRECTOR / BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
NOMINATED: GRAND JURY PRIZE
INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS (6 NOMINATIONS)
BEST FEATURE / BEST DIRECTOR / BEST FEMALE LEAD / BEST SUPPORTING MALE / FIRST SCREENPLAY / BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
NAACP IMAGE AWARD
NOMINATED: OUTSTANDING INDEPENDENT MOTION PICTURE
WINNER: BREAKTHROUGH DIRECTOR
NOMINATED: BEST FILM / BEST ENSEMBLE CAST / BREAKTHROUGH ACTOR
TORONTO FILM FESTIVAL
WINNER: TFCA AWARD (BEST FIRST FEATURE)
BERLIN FILM FESTIVAL
NOMINATED: GOLDEN BEAR AWARD (BEST FEATURE FILM)
A double prize winner at the Sundance Film Festival and one of the most critically acclaimed films of 2008, Ballast is 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 (Micheal J. Smith, Sr.) is paralyzed with grief after the loss of his twin brother. Twelve-year-old James (Jim Myron 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 flee their home in the night, they alight desperately on Lawrence s property. Though this provides safe harbor, it rekindles the fury of a bitter, longstanding conflict. Writer-director Lance Hammer and his 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.
- Director supervised high-definition digital transfer from the 35mm interpositive.
- Ballast Scene Development - A 37-minute making-of feature charting the evolution of several scenes through the improvisational conflict sessions and two-month rehearsal process that gave form to the final film.
- Original theatrical trailer.
- Optional English, French and Spanish subtitles.
- A new essay by film critic Amy Taubin.
There isn t much talk and not a drop of cynicism in (Ballast), Lance Hammer s austerely elegant, emotionally unadorned riff on life and death in the Mississippi Delta. Shot with a sure hand and a cast of unknowns, the film doesn t so much tell a story as develop a tone and root around a place that, despite the intimate camerawork, remains shrouded in ambiguity. ...It s a serious achievement and a welcome sign of a newly invigorated American independent cinema. --Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
BALLAST has the heft and substance its name implies. A double prize winner at Sundance, this austere, rigorous film has a sense of place, a feeling for reality so compelling it makes us feel like we're living it, not just watching on a screen. --Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
Top Customer Reviews
The movie is extremely low-key and slow paced. Likewise, the acting is often flat and doesn't always feel genuine (the extras show how the scenes were rehearsed and sometimes improved with the cast). However, "Ballast" overall does feel shockingly genuine, and even though it focuses on depressing issues the movie manages to be fairly uplifting without feeling manipulative. First-time director Lance Hammer has managed to tell an original American story that despite its pace is quite captivating. The film was nominated for and won various indie film awards, including a win at the Sundance Film Festival for Best Directing (Dramatic). "Ballast" reminded me a bit in tone and content of another recent indie hit, "Frozen River," and I think it will appeal to a similar audience.
The minimalist plot centers around three characters: Marlee (Tarra Riggs), the single mother with a history of drug addiction; her troubled son James (JimMyron Ross), who dabbles with drugs and guns; and the boy's catatonically depressed uncle Lawrence (Micheal J. Smith). Although the setting of a poverty-stricken African-American family in the Mississippi Delta is unusual in film, the central plot is entirely conventional: Lonely souls brought together by tragedy. But mostly, we get long, sad and bitter silences. Even an excellent performance by Riggs cannot overcome the lack of character development; none of these three are multi-dimensional enough to elicit audience connection.
What little action does occur is implausible. One moment, a gang of dangerous drug dealers is set to kill James over a $100 debt; the next, these rogues have mysteriously disappeared and are never seen again. Equally inexplicable is the ending. The film suddenly just ends, in mid-stride.
After finding myself so uncharacteristically at odds with the mainstream accolades, I scoured the reviews to find anyone whose take was remotely similar to mine. I finally found film critic Armond White's review in the New York Press, which hit the nail on the head by calling Ballast "an African-American indie film fantasy made for white liberals":
"You have to see through these ludicrous black phantoms to the actual white middle-class fantasies at the film's core.... Ballast demonstrates exactly how movies condition knee-jerk responses to black pathology....Read more ›
It's an alarming and saddening portrayal of lives slipping through safety nets and, by a kind of miracle of circumstances and determination, saving themselves, one day at a time. Filmmaker Lance Hammer uses hand-held cameras and an elliptical style of editing to heighten the urgency in the characters' situations. Performances are restrained and remarkable, especially JimMyron Ross, who plays the boy with a sullen silence that betrays the terror and confusion that his character is trying to hide. The DVD includes three improvisational scenes in which the actors explore their characters' relationships. Deserves every award it has won.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Love this film... it's very delicate and takes concentration. But a masterpiece imo.Published 6 months ago by happydance
Wasted my 4 dollars seeing this. If I did not have a film class requiring me to view this bore of a film, I wouldn't have even bothered! Read morePublished 6 months ago by M. M.
It's a KINO film distrabution.If you know your cinemas, then you know what i'am talking about! Brillant acting for for unknowed actor.Published on April 2, 2013 by john
A haunting and cold film that has an ultimately uplifting message...this will stay with you for quite awhile....nice transfer by Kino....well worth the costPublished on February 15, 2011 by kyle g.
The acting, character development in this movie is excellent. I left one star off because the ending didn't seem to bring closure in my opinion, a little too abrupt;although, the... Read morePublished on April 25, 2010 by P. Steen
"Ballast", writer/director Lance Hammer's low-budget Indie darling, is a slice of life, profound in it's realistic approach to simple, good people facing adversity. Read morePublished on November 22, 2009 by R. Gawlitta
"Ballast," a double prize winner at the Sundance Film Festival, takes place in the Mississippi delta and focuses on three people affected by a tragedy. Lawrence (Michael J. Read morePublished on November 17, 2009 by The Movie Man
Kino's announcements of upcoming releases arrived in this morning's mail, with the almost incredible news that - on November 10 - Ballast will appear on BD and DVD. Read morePublished on September 28, 2009 by griffinmill