Ballast Reviews

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Jeffrey M. Anderson
Combustible Celluloid
June 7, 2008
It's really just Indie Filmmaking 101; the hand-held shaky-cam work and jump-cutting go all the way back to Breathless (1959), if not a million other films.
Ron Wilkinson
Monsters and Critics
October 25, 2008
Rating high in the unvarnished truth department, "Ballast" does not bring enough entertainment to the table to merit the price of admission. A commendable exercise in plainness does not constitute a reason to see this film.
Full Review | Original Score: 6/10
Lewis Beale
Film Journal International
October 8, 2008
It's an impressive directorial debut that will leave viewers speechless at the end--not necessarily in a good sense.
Ed Gonzalez
Slant Magazine
March 19, 2008
Lance Hammer's Ballast suggests and suffers from the influence of the Dardenne brothers.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Armond White
New York Press
October 1, 2008
Ballast (another Frozen River, wallowing in the miseries of the underclass) is designed to provoke bourgeois moviegoers' pity.
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
November 7, 2008
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.
Full Review | Original Score: C
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
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
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
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
October 30, 2008
I always say I hardly ever cry at sad films, but I sometimes do, just a little, at films about good people.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
November 6, 2008
Ballast is an impressive first feature.
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
October 31, 2008
Ballast strikes me as one of the few American pictures of 2008 to say what it wants to say, visually and narratively, about a specific situation and part of the country, in a way that transcends regional specifics.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
November 21, 2008
This ostensibly simple film evokes whole lives in 96 minutes, and does so with sparse dialogue.
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.
Nora Lee Mandel
Film-Forward.com
November 1, 2008
The Mississippi Delta was the birth place of the blues, and Ballast gives the region a comparable visual expression for both frustration and the resolve to survive.
Full Review | Original Score: 7/10
David D'Arcy
Screen International
October 18, 2008
Ballast reminds us that you can find poetry in the unlikeliest and the saddest of places.
James Rocchi
Cinematical
October 18, 2008
Both the script and the performances keep audiences at a distance; Hammer deliberately avoids scenes or moments that would make sympathy or identification easy.
Top Critic
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
October 18, 2008
An impressive and courageous filmmaking debut that screams Sundance for all the right reasons.
Edward Douglas
ComingSoon.net
October 3, 2008
Ultimately, it's a satisfying character study, even if it ends much like far too many Romanian movies without a real conclusion or resolution.
Full Review | Original Score: 7/10
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul)
St. Paul Pioneer Press
October 31, 2008
A mildly subversive storyline is presented in the most inoffensive way possible.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Brent Simon
Shared Darkness
May 15, 2012
Mark Jenkins
NPR.org
October 18, 2008
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