25 favorite films update
25 favorite films final update

film fatales #117: sword of trust (lynn shelton, 2019)

I hadn't seen any films directed by Lynn Shelton, although I've enjoyed her work on TV series like Mad Men, Master of None, Shameless, Casual, and GLOW. She has a solid connection with her actors, which is very useful in a film that is apparently largely improvised (the listed writers are Shelton and Michael Patrick O'Brien). It's not entirely surprising that this cast works well with improvisation, as most of them have roots in that style. In fact, the cast is so good that it's not easy to guess that the dialogue is improvised.

Beyond that, actors like Marc Maron and Michaela Watkins are excellent, and I'm always happy to see Toby Huss. Others, like Jon Bass and Jillian Bell, are also good, although I wasn't sure I had seen any of their work (turns out I have, but apparently they didn't make a big impression on me).

I wanted to like Sword of Trust ... it's Shelton's last film, as she died in 2020, and I'm a fan of Maron, who was in a relationship with Shelton at the end and who has spoken movingly of her. But the best I can say is that I didn't dislike it. There's a shaggy-dog feel to the plot, and the film relies a lot on the individual scenes, which I didn't always connect with. There is something timely about the way Sword of Trust shows us conspiracy theorists (did you know the South won the Civil War?). I never quit rooting for the movie, and its short running time meant it was over before I lost interest. Everyone does good work, but overall, I wanted a little more.

[Letterboxd list of Film Fatales movies]


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