Sunday, February 14, 2010

Review: Ballast

Writer/director/editor Lance Hammer's Ballast is a brilliant and beautiful film. Set in the Mississippi Delta region, it focuses on a sullen man named Lawrence who reconnects with his estranged nephew and sister-in-law after his twin brother's suicide. The film establishes an easy, meandering rhythm that is not often on display in cinema; it drips off the screen and into your psyche like molasses.
One aspect of Ballast that strikes the audience first is its gorgeous, rain-drenched cinematography. Every frame marinates in a palette of mossy greens and damp blues. Many of the scenes are set outdoors, and the sad, green, crumbing, rural Delta is captured wonderfully and heartbreakingly
Something that may frustrate some viewers is the film's crushingly sparse dialogue. All the sound could be sucked out, though, and we would still understand what transpires. Similarly, there is no music, but this may be intentional; the filmic language Hammer employs is so rhythmic and lyrical that any musical score would be redundant.

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