Nathan Vass’ short film Men I Trust is a heartfelt essay on relationships and the passing of a partner. It is the story of two sisters, Sandro and Emma, and Sandro’s husband, Ashley. The 30-minute short film opens with a couple hiking through a nearby forest. We’ll soon find out the pair is Ashley and sister-in-law Emma. While they walk, the story flashes back to two storylines.
The first flashback takes us to the nightclub, where Ashley first meets Sandro. For Ashley, it’s love at first sight. For Sandro, it began with a fruitful first conversation at the bar. Sandro soon leaves the nightclub without giving Ashley her digits. Fate ultimately brings the two together.
We then jump to years later as the married Ashley and Sandro discuss her parents’ concern over the fact that the two have not produced any children. This forces the couple to make the final decision as a couple on this significant life event.
We are now brought back to the present in the forest as we find out that Sandro has passed. Ashley and Emma come together to reminisce about Sandro’s place in their hearts and the void left in her passing.
“…reminisce about Sandro’s place in their hearts and the void left in her passing.”
Men I Trust is a touching story about grief and loss. Though the film primarily features people talking in conversation, the dialogue is measured and insightful. Writer/director Vass gets right to the point and masterfully edits any excess story—no fluff. The flashbacks effectively set the stage for Ashley’s expected catharsis.
It’s the third act in the forest that is the star. Generally, I’m not a fan of talking movies, but Vass does a fantastic job getting right to the issues of life, death, and legacy. As Ashley, Martyn G. Krouse carries the bulk of the emotional load along with Eleanor Mosely as the older Emma. I should mention that each character is portrayed by two sets of “older” and “younger” actors. Krouse plays it calm and focused, never resorting to an over-the-top ugly cry. I understood precisely the weight of what he was thinking and feeling.
The star of the short is Vass’ script and the film’s editing. He brilliantly makes connections with the walk in the forest and the flashback of Ashley’s marriage, which adds hard, emotional punches to his existential crisis. All this to say, I was engaged and empathetic with Vass’ tale. Men I Trust is simply good storytelling.
"…does a fantastic job getting right to the issues of life, death, and legacy."