Lynn Shelton knows how to tell a good story. I loved Hump Day (2009) and Your Sister’s Sister (2011) and, like them, Sword of Trust is full of wry humour, great characters and cracking dialogue.
Mel (Marc Maron) is world-weary and runs his pawn shop in Birmington, Alabama with a cynical, apathetic puzzlement at the follies of humans. He has a little patience for his helper Nathaniel (Jon Bass) who displays all the enthusiasm for the ambiguities of the world that Mel has lost.
Couple Mary (Michaela Watkins) and Cynthia (Jillian Bell) turn up one day with the union sword bequeathed to Cynthia by her grandpappy and a story that it is evidence of the South winning the Civil War. They don’t really believe it but are willing to capitalise on it if they can.
What at first seems a joke launches all four on a journey where they get to move well outside of any comfort zone and test their courage and ability to be vulnerable. And all within a knowing humour about pain and prejudice and pawnshops as a place of redemption and community.
All four leads are winsome and believable but it is Mel who is the heart of the story. It is his journey we follow and what he learns is nicely handled and understated in its resolution. He’s the kind of bloke you can’t help but like, even if he might drive you crazy sometimes. I can’t help feeling, though, that it’s Mary I’d like to have beside me in a fight.
Have you seen this film? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.