BY ROMEY NORTON DECEMBER 29, 2023
A crime-drama film loosely based on an incredible true story and aims to shine a light on the darkest of places. Sound of Freedom is directed and co-written by Alejandro Monteverde, and starring Jim Caviezel, Mira Sorvino, and Bill Camp.
Sound of Freedom is an anti-sex-trafficking thriller, but has been criticised by anti-trafficking experts for providing a "false perception" of child trafficking and promoting "rescue" tactics that may put real victims in danger. Even so, the film has been embraced by QAnon conspiracy theorists - Their core belief is that a cabal of Satanic, cannibalistic child molesters are operating a global child sex trafficking ring which conspired against Donald Trump. Basically, this film is being watched by millions but receiving mixed reviews.
The story surrounds a federal agent, who after rescuing a boy from ruthless child traffickers, learns the boy's sister is still captive and decides to embark on a dangerous mission to save her. With time running out, he quits his job and journeys deep into the Colombian jungle, putting his life on the line to save her.
Sound of Freedom is a story with a maverick character, defying all the odds, to reunite a family. It brings a sense of hope and determination - and that children who have been sex trafficked can be saved. However, I feel this film really missed the mark. It could have been influential and emotionally charged, but instead at times it falls flat. This is due to its long runtime and dull acting.
Jim Caviezel, best known for playing Jesus in Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, gives a wooden and rigid performance, which I was shocked by, and if it weren’t for the other characters, the children in particular, I would have switched off completely. The film lacked the family-frenzy conflict which films such as Taken have gripped audiences with so intently.
The plot and content aren’t shy - they weren’t afraid to shock the audience. The film doesn’t overplay the dangers and it never feels over-dramatised. The topics at hand are handled sensitively, with care, without being traumatising or disturbing. With content some viewers might find difficult to watch and understand, all leads to a happy and fulfilling ending.
There is a dramatic part of the film that comes some way into the closing credits when Caviezel addresses the audience directly in a personal video which feels like a campaign. I believe this film wanted to be something more than just another film about sex-trafficking, and wanted to make an impact.
Overall, Sound of Freedom is politically charged - it’s trying to shed light on a very real world-wide issue but due to lack of character development, bad acting and long run time it might fail to entertain and engage you as a viewer.