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Sword of Trust

“This is definitely how people die.”

With Sword of Trust, writer/director Lynn Shelton continued her exploration of low budget, independent comedies while stepping a bit outside her comfort zone by filming a story in Alabama instead of the Pacific Northwest. It gave her another opportunity to work with her partner at the time Marc Maron. In the film, she skewers conspiracy theorists and clearly is having fun with it. But how does her improvisational style work as the film builds to its third act? Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we conclude our Lynn Shelton series with her 2019 comedy Sword of Trust.

Here’s a hint at what we talk about.

We love the comedy as it relates to making fun of the belief systems that support some of these nutty conspiracy theories. Unfortunately, Shelton and her co-writer Mike O’Brien rely too heavily on the improv style, which doesn’t allow for a satisfactory third act. Marc Maron is great as the cantankerous pawn shop owner. We buy his emotion in the dramatic story involving his former girlfriend. But he comes across as a bit lost in that third act as well. Jon Bass, Michaela Watkins, and Jillian Bell are great as the rest of the team rounding out Maron’s group as they try to sell an antique Civil War sword, but even they fall prey to some of the struggles of improv performing in the film. It’s great to see Shelton filming in another area of the country, but does the indie budget and her lack of knowledge of the area keep them from really getting the Southern locations to stand out? Sadly, Shelton passed away in 2020 from a rare form of blood cancer, but her films will live on and even if we didn’t love all of these, we fell under her spell as a director and certainly want to explore more of her output.

Largely, we like Sword of Trust quite a bit, but that third act does bog things down. Still, we’d absolutely watch it again. It’s a very fun and funny movie. It’s worth checking out, then tune in to this week’s show! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins!

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