Fans of the British television series ” The Detectorists” ( 2014) will love Director Lynn Shelton’s comedy ” Sword of Trust”. Wry, understated humor meshes with life’s little veracities.
Marc Maron plays Mel, a Jewish pawnshop owner in small town Alabama. Along with his slow-to-move helpmate Nathanial ( Jon Bass ), Mel parlays a living our of silver-tongued guitars and worn cowboy boots. When a lesbian couple ( one a former Israeli soldier) presents a Civil War sword with ” prover” documentation that the Confederates won the War, Mel pipes up with ” What do you think this is an Antique Road Show for racists”!
Word travels fast while cash register trays are drying out: “a prover-item” is for sale. ” Delta Pawn” and this unlikely foursome are accosted by some crazy, dangerous sword seekers, one who believes that the state of New Mexico does not count because it ,well , has ” Mexico” in it. Strumming music is apt, as it was in “Deliverance”.
” Sword of Trust” is low-budget fun. We slowly learn of our cast’s dreams and histories. Cynthia ( Jillian Bell ) hopes to use her split of the take for an “Escape Room” enterprise, sort of like the locked, padded van they find themselves in, except people pay for the fun of trying to get out. Mary ( Michaela Watkins) enjoys negotiating for Cynthia as her warrior in kind. Conspiracy theorists join cult members, and flat-earthed theories are even broached by Nathaniel. Toby Huss as ” Hog Jacks” stills one’s heart.
“Muscle Shoals” tee-shirts, tablecloth arguments, puppet-dancer and pie-maker epithets add to the fun. One scene mimics the “who’s on first” routine of Abbott and Costello.
Mel’s old-drugged-out flame, Deidre, ( Lynn Shelton , also director ) sells her on-the-spot poems when Mel will not pawn her rings. The warm tussle of their exchange from a 15 year-free druggy to a never-quite-beat-it user is perfect. The film’s ending where Mel leaves a sack of groceries on her door step is warmer still.