BALLAST

“Real Life” Drama

Content -2
Quality
None Light Moderate Heavy
Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Release Date: November 07, 2008

Starring: Micheal J. Smith, Sr.,
Jimmyron Ross, Tarra Riggs,
Johnny McPhail, Ventress
Bonner, Jimez Alexander, and
Jean Paul Guillory

Genre: Drama

Audience: Older teenagers and adults

Rating: NR

Runtime: 96 minutes

Distributor: Alluvial Film Company

Director: Lance Hammer

Executive Producer: Andrew Adamson, John J.
Hammer, Mark Johnson, and
Aimee Shieh

Producer: Lance Hammer and Nina Parikh

Writer: Lance Hammer

Address Comments To:

Lance Hammer
Alluvial Film Company
Phone: (323) 467-0705
Website: www.alluvialfilmcompany.com
Email: hammer@alluvialfilmcompany.com

Content:

(H, B, C, LLL, V, N, A, DD, MM) Light humanist worldview devoid of God with moral elements of showing kindness and teenager turns his life around and goes back to school after wanting drugs and stealing; one racial slur, 39 obscenities and two profanities; off-screen shooting, suicide and two fistfights; no sexual content; upper male nudity, woman in underwear; drinking of wine and beer; much smoking, plus using and selling, illegal drugs; and, minor uses a gun and stealing.

Summary:

BALLAST is a critically acclaimed story about an extended black family in America dealing with the suicide of one of its men. The movie struggles to be compelling as the characters slowly try to struggle through life in a world devoid of God.

Review:

BALLAST is a critically acclaimed story about an extended black family dealing with the suicide of one of its members. The brother, Lawrence, is left to manage the family store but becomes depressed. Meanwhile, Marlee, the angry ex-wife, must struggle to raise her teenage son.

The story is character oriented more than plot oriented. Very little happens as the characters go through a difficult time. In addition to minimal action, there is also minimal dialogue. Characters often spend long scenes looking out the window, leaving the viewers to piece together what’s happening. This makes the overall pacing slow at best.

At times, there is real emotional connection in a few scenes. For this, the actors, mostly non-professionals cast locally in Mississippi, are to be commended. The movie’s goal seems to be to portray “real life.” Mainstream audiences probably will find it tedious, but fans of independent movies may connect with the filmmaker’s intent.

The world of BALLAST lacks any reference to God. The only hope seems to be what the characters can do to help each other. When Marlee is fired from her job, there is no hope for her and her son. But, Lawrence extends much kindness to the embittered Marlee by buying her groceries, which softens their relationship.

The young teen son struggles with wanting to buy drugs and stealing items from abandoned homes. By the end, however, he starts back to school and tries to stay out of trouble.

BALLAST is at best a slice of life in a troubled time. Much of the drama, however, fails to connect with the audience because of the slow pace and lackluster plot.

In Brief:

BALLAST is the story of an extended black family dealing with the suicide of one of its men. The brother, Lawrence, falls into a depression while Marlee, the angry ex-wife, must struggle to raise her teenage son. In addition to minimal action, there is also minimal dialogue. Characters spend long scenes simply gazing, leaving viewers to piece together what’s happening. In a few scenes, the actors do make a real emotional connection. The movie’s goal seems to be to portray “real life.” Mainstream audiences may find this tedious, but fans of independent movies may connect with the filmmaker’s intent.

The world of BALLAST lacks any reference to God. The only hope seems to be what the characters do to help each other. When Marlee is fired from her job, there is no hope for her and her son. But, Lawrence extends kindness to the embittered Marlee by buying her groceries, and her teenage son turns his life around and goes back to school. At best, BALLAST is a slice of life in a troubled time. Much of the drama, however, fails to connect with the audience because of the slow pace.