Reviews

Ballast

4

The effect of a suicide on a family makes for stark viewing in Lance Hammer's confident debut

Ballast review

Robert Bresson and the Dardenne Brothers are clear influences on US writer/director Lance Hammer’s austere debut, which unfolds in a desolate stretch of the Mississippi Delta.

Through a series of elliptical scenes we piece together how a suicide impacts on three members of an African-American family: the dead man’s almost catatonic twin (Michael J Smith), his aggrieved ex-wife (Tarra Riggs) and his wayward son (JimMyron Ross).

Powerful, semi-improvised performances bring us closer to the isolated characters, who movingly earn themselves the possibility of redemption.

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