By Chris dos Santos
2nd August 2019

2019 has been quite a weak year across the board, and comedy is no exception; ‘Booksmart’ and ‘Late Night' aside, we haven’t had a lot of laughs this year. ‘Sword of Trust’ offers a more indie approach to the genre, but still manages to lay low on the laughs.

When Cynthia’s (Jillian Bell, ‘Fist Fight’, ‘Rough Night’) grandfather passes away, she and her girlfriend Mary (Michaela Watkins, ‘Brittany Runs a Marathon’, ‘Brigsby Bear’) go to collect her inheritance. Thinking they're getting the house, they are instead given a sword that her Grandfather believed proved that the South won the Civil War. This leads them to a pawn shop owned by Mel (Marc Maron, ‘Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates’, ‘Almost Famous’) - and while no one believes this, his assistant Nathaniel (Jon Bass, ‘Baywatch’, ‘Molly's Game’) finds a group of potential buyers who strongly believe that the South won, leading them on an interesting journey.


While the comedy isn’t especially strong, the cast is, and there are a few moments of improvisation where they get to show off their skills and provide a laugh or two. Even though the film only clocks in at 88 minutes, the plot is very drawn out, and easily could have been a tight short film and removed the ending, kept the whole thing in the pawn shop. That could have been a lot of fun, but the feature-length version does make the plot feel thin.

The film has a lot of social commentary from same-sex relationships to conspiracy theories, and it actually handles those well with some really well-written conversations especially between Cynthia (who doesn’t believe in those theories) and Nathaniel (who is more inclined to listen to them). These scenes show what the movie could have been with a great blend of comedy and commentary. The movie did lose me at times - due to the repeated references to the Civil War, it's harder for an Australian audience to connect with some of the jokes and plot points.

While it has a mix of untapped potential and a stretched plot, ‘Sword of Trust’ is still a fun indie movie.

For all its flaws, ‘Sword of Trust’ is still a fun little movie. While it has a mix of untapped potential and a stretched plot, it isn’t one that I would say to stay away from - if you stumble across it and have 80 minutes to kill, there are worse things you could be watching.

Looking for more Melbourne International Film Festival reviews? Click here to check out our collection of this year's highlights.
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