21 user 67 critic

Ballast (2008)

Not Rated | | Drama | 19 January 2008 (USA)
1:48 | Trailer
A drama set in the Mississippi delta, where one man's suicide affects three people's lives.


Lance Hammer


Lance Hammer
17 wins & 21 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Micheal J. Smith Sr. ... Lawrence
JimMyron Ross ... James
Tarra Riggs ... Marlee
Johnny McPhail ... John
Ventress Bonner Ventress Bonner ... Teen
Jimez Alexander ... Teen
Jean Paul Guillory Jean Paul Guillory ... Teen
Marcus Alexander Marcus Alexander ... Teen
Marquice Alexander Marquice Alexander ... Teen
Lawrence Jackson Lawrence Jackson ... Teen
Jeremy Jordan ... Paramedic
Steve Cabell Steve Cabell ... Paramedic
Sam Dobbins ... Ambulance Driver
Neil Pettigrew Neil Pettigrew ... Dispatcher (voice)
Sanjib Shrestha Sanjib Shrestha ... Dr. Shrestha (as Dr. Sanjib Shrestha)


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 Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


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 »

User Reviews

Hammer Time on sad times in Mississippi
28 November 2009 | by meezaSee all my reviews

"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

1 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 21 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.


Official Sites:

Official site





Release Date:

19 January 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Balast See more »

Filming Locations:

Mississippi, USA See more »


Box Office


$700,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,572, 5 October 2008

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Alluvial Film Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.

Visit our What to Watch page

Recently Viewed