Looks beautiful — and probably too subdued for Oscar. But let’s never loose sight of the fact that awards coverage involves more than the Oscars. We have the Spirit Awards and various critics groups to consider, too, and their choices are often more in line with individual personal taste than the Oscars. Andrew O’Hehir, Salon, says it’s “a profoundly American film that’s nonetheless rooted in the European tradition of improvised, lo-fi naturalism”:
There’s plenty of dramatic incident in “Ballast,” including a couple of shootings and Marlee’s attempt to resurrect the defunct family store, and the acting of Hammer’s nonprofessional cast is impressive. But audiences primarily in search of plot will be frustrated, because the central experience of the film is visual and emotional. Violence and tenderness alike are dwarfed by cinematographer Lol Crawley’s wintry wide-screen landscapes, and the film’s adults will have to join forces to prevent James from disappearing into them.
Sounds exquisite. Poster after the cut.