Ballast is one of those rare films that maximize the medium through an aesthetic of understatement. Every frame is deliberately and beautifully composed, every cut artfully and economically executed-not only to transmit a quietly gripping story but to reveal characters' layered emotional experiences and the specific textures and sensations of their locales. Because it is grounded by three exquisitely nuanced performances, it's not surprising that Ballast is the product of intensive collaboration with local nonactors organically connected to the material. First-time director Lance Hammer is a distinctive voice with a remarkable sensitivity to the topography of human relationships and a powerfully cinematic social-realist vision.
-Caroline Libresco SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL