Social impact entertainment (SIE) challenges viewers to respond to realities of injustice that happen every day in our society. The stories bring to light plights of human beings who are on the margins of society or exploited by the wealthy, powerful, or influential. The Sound of Freedom produced by actor and humanitarian, Eduardo Verástegui, and distributed by Angel Studios of The Chosen fame is one such film. You cannot remain a bystander after realizing what happens in the dark underbelly of society where human beings, specifically children, are trafficked for sexual pleasure of the perverted. Written and directed by Alejandro Monteverde (Bella, Little Boy), The Sound of Freedom is an action thriller based on the life of Tim Ballard, former homeland security agent gone rogue, to rescue children caught in this modern-day slavery of human trafficking.
The movie follows Ballard (Jim Caviezel) on a dangerous mission to save the children of a Roberto (José Zúñiga) who lost to traffickers both his 7-year-old son Miguel and 9-year-old daughter Rocio. Caviezel’s piercing eyes express the emotion and determination of Ballard’s undying spirit to rescue children from the utter evil he witnesses. In an interview, Caviezel says, “God’s children are not for sale…. That’s why I did this movie.” And Ballard shares that through this film he hopes that “the silent majority is rising…. the world is waking up” to the sexualization of children not only through trafficking, but also through pornography and gender ideology.
Following the horrible plight of deception that led the children into the hands of predators, viewers are guided into the sophisticated international web of darkness that becomes a suspenseful chase to save these children from the most dangerous people on the planet. The top-notch action filmmaking involves intense thriller moments that leave you gasping about the realities of this unbelievable true story.
Ballard pursues his leads while at his government job but must make a choice to let go of the case as his boss tells him or continue this work on his own. Because he feels called to stay on the mission, his wife (Mira Sovino) tells him, “You quit your job and you go and rescue those kids.” He becomes involved with ex-cartel mobster Don Pito “Batman” (Bill Camp) who buys children then sets them free by putting them into safe houses. Batman says he found himself in a tsunami of darkness after living the lifestyle of a trafficker. He faced the reality of God and his sins and says, “If God tells you what to do, you cannot hesitate.” To find Rocio, the two enter together into the heart of rebel country in the jungles of Colombia—territory where no native law enforcement ever go. An international pursuit ensues. The cinematography and exquisite set direction make this a nail-biting thriller, all the while breaking your heart seeing the abuse and suffering of the children. Though nothing is explicitly shown, the abuse and torture are implied.
This film brings the horrific evil of child trafficking into the light. The passage from the Gospel of Matthew comes to mind and out of the mouth of Jim Caviezel’s character in the film, “If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Mt 18:6). Ballard learns that child pornography is more profitable than selling drugs, which you sell one time, but a child of 5 years old you can sell multiple times a day for ten years. More than 2 million children are “sucked into hell” each year. Though what he faces rips him apart, he keeps going.
Some movies are pleasurable entertainment, others are a call to action. The Sound of Freedom leaves the viewer stunned and overwhelmed by the monumental task of tackling the fastest growing international crime network around the planet, as the film discloses. A social impact film of this type offers the viewer a choice. As Eduardo Verástegui said about his encounter with Tim Ballard who told him, “It’s very sad that if now that you know it, you do nothing.” This film, he says, is a call to action. In the face of an evil so grave, we can all do something. Caviezel says, “Tell your friends about this film because we want to shine a light on this. This is the most brutal, ugly thing I’ve ever seen.”
With The Chosen fans behind the reason why Angel Studios took on the project, there is an opportunity to mobilize large segments of the population to end this scourge on children and all humanity. Tim Ballard founded Operation Underground Railroad, an organization to dismantle child sex trafficking rings. With a team of other former government operatives, he works with national and international law enforcement to rescue children from the grip of evil. Each viewer is called to act, realizing that this horror is in our midst, in our neighborhoods and in our cities. We can all make a difference. The Sound of Freedom shows the power of one person’s determination to combat darkness through the light of Christ.
In theaters starting July 4th - www.Angel.com/freedom
Images courtesy of Angel Studios (c) 2023. All rights reserved.