A single mother and her embattled son struggle to subsist in a small Mississippi Delta township. An act of violence thrusts them into the world of an emotionally devastated highway store owner, awakening the fury of a bitter and longstanding conflict.Written by
I'll Wait For Jesus
Arranged by Clora T. Handy & Ann Nichols
Performed by The Canton Gospel Chorus
Courtesy of Talk of the Town Records See more »
Hammer Time on sad times in Mississippi
"Ballast" is an independent film which many critics went "ballistic" with and was even nominated for several Independent Sprit Awards last year. Did it deserve it? No. Should it be ignored? No. "Ballast" stars Tarra Riggs as Marlee, an impoverished black mother living in rural Mississippi trying her best to make ends meat to raise her tweenage son James. James is a young drug addict who goes to extreme measures to support his drug habit. Example: James nonchalantly enters his Uncle Lawrence's home and holds him up at gunpoint to obtain money to purchase the drugs. Lawrence, "The Man From U.N.C.L.E. himself, depressive nature does not make him fight off the rebellious immaturity of James. Lawrence is profoundly grieving the suicide death of his twin brother Darrius, who was married to Marlee and is James' papa; even though Marlee & James despised Darrius because of his desertion of them both. Marlee eventually discovers James unrighteous ways and even loses her job. The desperate Marlee has no choice but to seek the assistance of neighbor Uncle Lawrence even though she has loathed him also because of his brother's actions. What happens next is a commending story of the power of connectivity of people going through harsh times and letting their unforgiving nature behind for the betterment of a child. Therefore, the central fixation is on sacrificing hang-ups in order to help a boy alter his self-destructive habits in order for him to have a promising & hopeful future. The performances of Michael Smith as Lawrence and the aforementioned Riggs as Marlee were authentically solid. Especially Smith's work, who spoke volumes with his non-verbal acting on the internal emotional pain of losing a loved one. JimMyron Ross as James was mediocre at best, but there were signs that with some more thespian training, the young Ross could have a successful acting future. Writer-Director Lance Hammer did nail the character development of the protagonists residing in poverty-stricken small town Mississippi, but I think Hammer screwed it up a bit on orchestrating too many stale & elongated scenes. Kudos does go out to the film's thematic & symbolist cinematography. "Ballast" is a mostly melancholy story which I do not think you will have a "ball" with, but it is a reliable moral narrative on the human nature of resiliency that deserves to be experienced. *** Average
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