Alejandro Monteverde’s “Sound of Freedom” is Not Pure Kino, but Kino Enough
The liberal media reaction to Alejandro Monteverde’s Sound of Freedom, starring Jim Caviezel as a former government agent who embarks on a mission to rescue children from sex traffickers in Colombia, has been nothing short of a full-on freakout. Some reviewers have gone as far as to attempt to turn the accusatory tables on the filmmakers, calling it “fetishizing” and claiming that those promoting it don’t want viewers to know “what real-world traffickers are up to.”
When Disney acquired 20th Century Fox in 2019, the rights to Sound of Freedom fell into its lap. It then sidelined production for five years, after which rights were purchased by Angel Group, which raised the funds to make the movie in a “grassroots” manner. Why did Disney sideline production? Obviously not for commercial reasons: Sound of Freedom is a box office hit, to the point that the mainstream media is now lashing out about “outlandish conspiracy theories”, behavior that, of course, only serves to promote the film.
Well, I went and saw Sound of Freedom myself this week. It was the first time in at least three years that I had been to see a movie in a fully sold-out theatre. I should add, although you have probably already intuited, that the theatre contained basically no young people. It was MAGA Boomers, Q Boomers, all manner of Boomer, and myself, the youngest person in the theatre by probably 30 years.
To get what appears to be the primary good-faith critique out of the way: yes, Sound of Freedom clocks in extremely high for boomer cringe dialogue. And certain plot points may leave something to be desired. But this was to be expected, and, what is expected may be enjoyed and appreciated for what it is. The raison d’être of the film is not to be the next Mulholland Drive, but rather to entertain the Amerikäner with an action movie designed also to raise their awareness about child sex trafficking, which is already associated in their minds with the Washington and Hollyweird elite.
One of Sound of Freedom‘s more memorable scenes features the protagonist using an Epstein-esque island to entrap a group of kidnapping sex traffickers while rescuing the several-dozen children they’ve brought with them. While the degree to which the film is “inspired by” vs “based on” the actual exploits of Tim Ballard, real-life hunter of sex traffickers, is not specified, it seems as though this particular bit of “good police work” must have been at least somewhat embellished in order to draw the comparison. To confirm the suspicion, the usual end credits “facts” section included an assertion you wouldn’t normally expect: that the United States is one of the biggest markets for child sex trafficking in the world.
The film is very watchable as an action/suspense movie. It is scored intensely in a way that grips the viewer. There is an extremely definitive and traditional moral binary, something ‘you don’t see as much these days’. The tall, handsome, white man is the good guy. He has no notable moral flaws. He weeps several times, has a gaggle of progeny, and a loving wife back Stateside. As for the bad guys, no context is provided on how they ended up as child sex traffickers. We are just left to assume they simply followed their innate greed and perversion.
If anything was definitely missing from a cinematographic perspective, it was more action. I was left wishing for an Apocalypse Now-style napalm strike on the cocaine production shanty village from whence the hero manages to save the object of his search and rescue mission. But entertaining violence is precluded, because, like the film’s depiction of the underworld of child sex trafficking in general, we are led to understand that this is how it actually happened, in reality.
In short, it is obvious that Sound of Freedom is a political film seeking to achieve a specific aim, and to levy an accusation against a particular set of political elites – the references to political actors and their affiliates, like the aforementioned Epstein, are only one or two layers beneath the surface. This has prompted some online friends to critique it, some severely so, but if one enters knowing what this film wants to do, and judges it on that basis, rather than some misapplied, overarching rubric typical of the liberal mindset, it is more than possible to enjoy and appreciate what has been presented. So I urge you to go see it this weekend, and encourage your friends, online and in real life, to do so as well, because despite all its artistic flaws, Sound of Freedom is a noble project, the likes of which deserves broad support.