It’s a nice, delicate thing, the trailer for Lance Hammer’s stirring directorial debut, the Sundance-minted Ballast, but it still doesn’t fully convey the top-shelf artistry with which this elegiac tale is told. So many films from freshmen filmmakers evince no cohesive visual scheme — or, failing that, are all nervous, jittery, look-at-me energy — but this movie is the exception to the rule. The story — about a young Mississippi boy, his mother, and the slow thaw of their fraught relationship with said boy’s uncle, the twin of his late father — is simple and slow to unfold, but Hammer’s emphasis on quiet emotional truth is impressive. His approach with the camera and eye for unfussy natural composition, meanwhile, summons to mind Terrence Malick, and David Gordon Green’s George Washington.
The film opens in New York City at the Film Forum on October 1, and then spreads its wings to an additional top 20 markets, including San Francisco on October 17, Boston and Chicago on October 31, Los Angeles on November 7, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. on November 14, Detroit on November 21, and St. Louis on November 28. A full review will follow later this coming week; for more information on the film, meanwhile, click here.