Ballast Reviews

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Top Critic
Ben Kenigsberg
Time Out
November 18, 2011
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out
November 17, 2011
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Kelly Vance
East Bay Express
August 15, 2011
Worth seeing as an example of the lengths to which a filmmaker will go to establish his career - but don't ever mistake it for sociology.
Brandon Judell
GreenCine
July 29, 2011
His brilliant "Ballast" was as much a hit in Seattle as it was at Sundance.
Graham Young
Birmingham Post
May 12, 2011
With debut director Lance Hammer admirably holding on to his core values in a way that directors too easy to deliver a crowd-pleaser do not, this is a fine, low-budget independent film...
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
April 10, 2011
Hammer manages to do enough with his actors and his nuanced script to make this exploration of the way even disparate people can provide stability for one another seem surprisingly engaging.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Philip French
Guardian
March 22, 2011
The opening half hour is electrifying, the ending interestingly open-ended...
Sophie Ivan
Film4
March 21, 2011
A hugely impressive, distinctive directorial debut and a compellingly humanist window onto a layer of American society that mainstream cinema likes to pretend doesn't exist.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Shaun Munro
What Culture
March 20, 2011
This airy, quiet meditation on the struggle of three people to transcend abject poverty and unexpected loss will likely play as too dialled-down for many tastes, but persevering with it will reveal a rare, peculiar mystical quality...
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Matthew Turner
ViewLondon
March 19, 2011
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Tim Robey
Daily Telegraph
March 18, 2011
Quite a debut here from writer-director Lance Hammer, working on a minuscule budget in the Mississippi Delta, and evoking a memorably forlorn kind of regional specificity.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Anthony Quinn
Independent
March 18, 2011
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Allan Hunter
Daily Express
March 17, 2011
Naturalistic performances from a non-professional cast add to the austere integrity and touching humanity of this bleak tale.
Philip Concannon
The Skinny
March 17, 2011
This is a director who understands that a whisper can be as powerful as a shout, and in its own quiet way, Ballast is a stunning achievement.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Peter Bradshaw
Guardian
March 17, 2011
A difficult, subdued film, but intelligent and with more intricacy and subtlety than at first appears.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Alan Mack
Little White Lies
March 17, 2011
Sags in the final third, but the impeccable craftsmanship keeps matters afloat.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
David Parkinson
Radio Times
March 17, 2011
Hammer makes exceptional use of British cinematographer Lol Crawley's evocative imagery and Kent Sparling's visceral sound design...
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Nigel Andrews
Financial Times
March 17, 2011
Drugs, guns, attempted suicide. The Mississippi Delta is a watercolour landscape in duns and half-colours. Black poverty is turned over like the underside of the American dream.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Geoff Andrew
Time Out
March 16, 2011
Although the film never fulfils the promise of its elliptical, mysterious opening - the drama occasionally lacks momentum as it proceeds towards some sort of resolution - there's no denying its intelligence, compassion and assurance.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
David Parkinson
Empire Magazine
March 14, 2011
It puts the 'blue' into bluegrass, but finds plenty of uplift and emotion too. Excellent.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Brent Simon
Shared Darkness
May 15, 2012
Mark Jenkins
NPR.org
October 18, 2008
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