Never taking itself too seriously, Sword of Trust mashes reality with absurdity and does so with ease. The care it takes to introduce and get to know its characters is expertly crafted and brought to life by a great ensemble cast lead by Marc Maron. Thanks to possibly the best performance of his career, he brings this small indie the weight it needs stand above its peers.
Maron stars as a recovering addict from New Mexico that ended up in Birmingham, Alabama operating a pawn shop. From the opening scenes it’s clear that he’s a bit of a listless curmudgeon, doing what he can to get the most from his patrons. Aided by his hapless employee (Jon Bass), who is more interested in his conspiracy videos than helping around the shop. The duo gets more then they bargained for when a couple (Michaela Watkins & Jillian Bell) who have inherited a civil war era sword come in to the pawn shop.
Once the group discovers the possible worth of the sword they set out to sell this “proof piece” to the highest white supremacy bidder. The story gets more and more absurd, leading ultimately to a near kidnapping and gun fight, but in true Lynn Shelton form it does not devolve into absurdity, it maintains its tight focus on the characters. The often hilarious script is no doubt helped by SNL alum and co-writer Michael Patrick O’Brian. Maron continues to show is prowess as a character actor, being honest and showing off his comedic timing and skills at improvisation. He also provided all the little blues guitar licks throughout the film. Jillian Bell, a main company member of the groundlings in L.A. also helps bring that “realness” with her performance, she is exceedingly normal and does it perfectly.
A film thats one part character study, one part social commentary. The characters and acting are what make this film special. The social commentary aspects bleed into what is really a story about a man that is not sure how he ended up where he is in life. Whether you believe in a flat earth, the south won, or that $15 dollars is a fair amount for a porcelain cat, it really doesn’t matter, what matters is that these people inhabit this world. The genuine moments between the characters feel like you’re intruding in someones life and catching glimpses of real conversations and moments. Lynn Shelton has crafted an honest portrayal of every day life, and the every day issues that walk around with us.