Ballast opens with a wide panoramic view of a bleak, waterlogged, windswept landscape; birds taking off in the grey distance. But for the three lonely individuals at the heart of Lance Hammer’s astonishing debut film, escape is not an option. To survive is all they can hope for.
Lawrence (Micheal J. Smith Sr.), overweight, sits alone, smoking silently as he stares into space. His twin brother, Darius, lies dead of an overdose in the bedroom. A kindly neighbour, having noticed that Lawrence’s convenience store hasn’t been opened in days, stops by and offers help. Unable to contain his grief, Lawrence attempts suicide by shooting himself in the chest.