Sword of Trust (2019) reviewed by Jonathan Berk

Marc Maron continues to prove that he can be the lead in a movie or a show. His role in Lynn Shelton’s new film, Sword of Trust (2019), proves that he can be as empathetic as he is funny and that he is capable of jumping back and forth between the two quite seamlessly. Alongside a very funny cast, this movie is entertaining, while managing to raise some interesting points about internet conspiracy theories and the current political climate.

Maron proves he is a leading man in the Sword of Trust

Mel (Maron) runs a pawn shop, and is pretty good at the hustle aspect of the job. That is, however, until Mary (Michaela Watkins) and Cynthia (Jillian Bell) come in with an old Civil War-era sword that Cynthia inherited from her grandfather. According to a letter that accompanies the sword, this sword proves that the South, in fact, won the Civil War, and it turns out that this sword could be quite financially beneficial for all of the parties involved.

The film starts with two separate narratives, as we see Mel working the purchase of an old guitar and a “new” pair of cowboy boots. It is instantly implied that he is like most pawn shop owners, and is going to try and give you as little money as possible. Deidre (Lynn Shelton) comes into talk to Mel, and after writing a poem for Nathaniel (Jon Bass), we find out the two have quite a history. She ultimately asks for money, and Mel refuses.

In the meantime, Cynthia and Mary arrive at her grandfather’s old house only to find out that it belongs to the bank. The only thing left to Cynthia was the sword and a crazy tale that leads them into the main story when they try and sell it. Their initial meeting with Mel and Nathaniel is extremely funny, as Mel thinks the story is absolute bullcrap. However, Nathaniel soon finds a series of online users that believe there is a conspiracy, and they are seeking to find the truth  – that the South actually won the war, and they are willing to pay big money for artifacts that can help their cause.

The big surprise for me was really enjoying Jillian Bell’s performance. Her previous films have been hit-or-miss for me as far as comedy goes, but I think Shelton gave her enough freedom to be funny while still reigning in some of her more obvious moments of improv that just land flat for me. There is a great scene with Bell and Bass discussing a common internet conspiracy that is absolutely hilarious. It feels written, but there is clearly a little improv going on between the two that works really well.

Final thoughts…

Sword of Trust is definitely one to see as it slowly expands this summer. It’s an absolutely, delightfully fun time at the movies. Mel’s character is complex, and Maron gives an excellent performance. The movie earns the Must See rating.

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