Sound of Freedom (PG-13)
15/08/23 23:53 Filed in: 2023
Directed by: Alejandro Monteverde
Starring: Jim Caviezel
Warning! This is NOT a movie review. This is a critique of the film. Intended to initiate a dialogue, the following analysis explores various aspects of the film and may contain spoilers. For concerns over objectionable content, please first refer to one of the many parental movie guide websites. Ratings are based on a four star system. Happy reading!
Heavy! If I only had one word to describe Sound of Freedom—the new film from Angel Studios, producers of the popular Biblical web series, The Chosen—that’s what I’d choose.
From the opening montage, which features real security camera footage of child abductions, to an early scene where traffickers use a faux talent photo shoot to exploit and abduct young kids, the mood is set for a horrific, heart-breaking film.
The story is based on the actual experiences of Homeland Security Investigations agent, Tim Ballard (Jim Caviezel). Near the beginning of the movie, Ballard earns the trust of convicted pedophile, Ernst Oshinsky (Kris Avedisian), who eventually divulges the location of Miguel (Lucas Avila), a young boy who was taken from his parents. Oshinsky is shocked when he learns he’s been betrayed. As the police arrive, Ballard tells him, “Never trust a pedophile.” The win feels good. Then, a short time later, a nurse tells Ballard that 8-year-old Miguel has lesions which indicate he’s been violated…words just fail.
Events escalate when Ballard meets former cartel accountant, Vampiro (Bill Camp), and they hatch a plan to locate Miguel’s sister, Rocio (Cristal Aparicio). When they learn Rocio has been sold to a drug lord who operates deep in the jungles of Cambodia, Ballard’s resolve is tested. To rescue Rocio from a life of slavery and prostitution, Ballard will literally need to go to the ends of the Earth.
Writing about a movie that deals with such topics as child exploitation, child sex trafficking, and pedophilia is exceedingly difficult. With such graphic, adult subject matter, this movie certainly isn’t recommended for anyone under 18. However, every adult on the planet should see this film—to be confronted with the ugly reality of the fastest-growing form of illegal trade today and made aware that the biggest perpetrator of this vile practice is America.
And where is Hollywood, the supposed purveyors of truth and exposers of injustice in our society? Gone are the days of films like All the President’s Men (1976) which blew the lid off the Watergate Scandal (but maybe the only reason that movie was produced was because Hollywood is liberal and Nixon and his top men were conservative, revealing partisan hypocrisy even back then). Hollywood is all too happy to champion causes near and dear to its heart, like awareness of climate change or advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community. But where are they on the issue of child sex trafficking? Crickets.
It doesn’t further their liberal agenda to take sides on this extremely black-and-white (ethically, not ethnically) issue, so they turn a blind eye on it, along with the open border crisis, which is causing ballooning increases in sex trafficking, drug (especially Fentanyl) trafficking, known terrorists entering our country, and illegals crossing the border, many of whom have diseases and/or no practical work experience and have selfishly jumped the line in front of people who are legally seeking entry into the U.S. So, why do cowardly liberals remain silent on the issue of child sex trafficking? The border must stay open so that they can recruit a cheap labor force, which also will double as a new voter base for the Democrat party.
Keep in mind, these liberals belong to the political party that used to be inundated with bleeding hearts. No longer. Today, they don’t seem to care about any of the above issues and are collectively in denial that such existential crises exist. Their hearts are callous to anything except that which keeps them in power and keeps their bank accounts flush with cash.
These abused, endangered and sexually victimized kids, plus anyone who dies from a Fentanyl overdose, are just collateral damage to those who scheme to remain in power. That makes many political animals, power brokers and unscrupulous billionaires just as complicit as the traffickers and pedophiles. We would surely be revolted if we knew how many people in our country condone, profit from, or commit sexual acts with young children (as young as 6-years-old according to one of the characters in the movie). And that’s why Hollywood won’t touch this topic; they’d fall out of favor with those in power. So that makes Hollywood complicit too.
The number one job of any nation is to protect its citizens. When a government fails to fulfill that basic task, such dereliction can give rise to vigilantism and anarchy. As has happened repeatedly throughout history, people will take matters into their own hands if their security is threatened. But when the cause is just, as Ballard’s actions are in the movie, is it really vigilantism or just doing what’s right? And why should doing the right thing come at such a high price? As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.” Thank God for good people like Tim Ballard, who are willing to risk their life to save others.
For an independent film, Sound is surprisingly well produced. Director Alejandro Monteverde does a fine job of utilizing his locations, especially the island and jungle environs. Caviezel delivers an intense, well-modulated portrayal of Ballard, a man whose soul is weary from slaving away in a system where perpetrators frequently slip though the cracks and innocents are victimized en masse. Caviezel is surrounded by some really fine actors including Mira Sorvino, who plays Ballard’s wife, Katherine; Kurt Fuller as John Bryant, Ballard’s sympathetic but by-the-book boss; and Camp, who steals the show as Ballard’s sidekick—he earns some of the biggest laughs and delivers some of the best lines in the movie, including one that contains the titular phrase.
Sound beat Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny on its opening day. Hopefully grassroots support and strong word of mouth will keep this film in theaters for several weeks…if not months. The film exposes the ugliness of the human condition and presents a message that must be heard, lest the immoral malignancy of child sex trafficking forever malign the soul of our nation.
Sound has put a human face on the issue of child sex trafficking. You can’t unsee the horrific tableaus in the film; the images, particularly the visages of the young children, are indelible. Unless you’re a perpetrator of the crimes the film exposes, it’s impossible to walk away from the movie unmoved.
Sound is one of the most important films I’ve ever seen, and certainly the most urgent.
Rating: 3 out of 4