4 Things You Should Know about Sound of Freedom

Tim is a federal agent who has a passion for justice, for righteousness and for rescuing the innocent.

On the surface, his goals aren’t all that different from his fellow agents at the Department of Homeland Security. They, too, want to see an end to human sex trafficking. They, too, are fighting to save children.

Tim, though, wants to push the legal envelope. He wants to battle sex traffickers not only inside the U.S. – the legal boundaries of his government employer – but in other countries, too.

One day, he catches a sex trafficker entering the U.S. who is trafficking a young boy. Now freed, the young boy tells Tim that his sister also was kidnapped and is being held in another country.

Burdened with the new information, Tim refuses to just “let it go,” as his co-workers suggest. Tim is determined to find the girl, even if it costs him his job.

The new movie Sound of Freedom (PG-13) follows the story of Tim. It is being distributed by Angel Studios and stars Jim Caviezel (The Passion of the Christ, Infidel) in the lead role.

Here are four things you should know:

Photo courtesy: ©Angel Studios, used with permission.

Sounds of Freedom

1. It’s Based on a True Story

Sound of Freedom tells the real-life story of Tim Ballard, who worked for 12 years as a special agent for the Department of Homeland Security before quitting to launch a non-profit organization, Operation Underground Railroad, devoted to fighting child sex trafficking all over the world. At DHS, he worked for the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force and was deployed as an undercover operative for the U.S. Child Sex Tourism Jump Team.

Just as is depicted in the film, Ballard would pretend to be a pedophile or sex trafficker in order to infiltrate sex trafficking rings and spark arrests. It was a role he did not take lightly.

“I knew it existed, but I didn’t want to see it,” he said.

Photo courtesy: ©Angel Studios, used with permission.

Jim Caviezel, Caviezel talks Sounds of Freedom

2. It’s from the Filmmaker Behind Bella and Crescendo

The director of Sound of Freedom is Alejandro Monteverde, who previously directed Bella (2006) and Little Boy (2015) and produced the short film Crescendo (2011). All three are among the highest-quality inspiring films in modern film history. Bella, in fact, may be the best pro-life film ever made about abortion, dealing with the issue without being heavy-handed. His friend Eduardo Verástegui, who starred in Bella and Little Boy, has a role in Sound of Freedom.

It’s fitting that the duo is helping shine the light on child sex trafficking, a dark, deprived corner of the world that deserves the same energy from pro-lifers as abortion. It, too, is a pro-life issue.

Like those earlier movies, Sound of Freedom incorporates faith but doesn’t “preach.”

“God’s children are not for sale,” Tim says in one of the film’s most powerful scenes. Later, we hear a girl sing, in Spanish, those very words.

Photo courtesy: ©Angel Studios, used with permission.

Sound of Freedom

3. It’s Painful, Excellent and Necessary

Sound of Freedom opens in Honduras, with a father sitting beside his young daughter as they listen to a cunning talent scout tout the financial benefits of a career in modeling. The father grudgingly drops her off at the “agency,” only to return and discover she has been kidnapped. He later learns she has become a child sex slave. We then learn she is the sister of the brother rescued by Tim.

Incredibly, millions of children around the world are living a hellish life like those two young siblings, regularly raped to support a human trafficking “business” estimated to be worth $150 billion.

Sound of Freedom is a painful film to watch. But it’s also necessary. Caviezel is marvelous as Tim Ballard. The cinematography, musical score and script are perfect. It’s not a movie you’ll watch again and again, but it is a film you’ll recommend to family and friends. Cinematically, it’s excellent.

It shows us the impact of child pornography/slavery without showing us the actual content. We watch a drunk man, standing beside a young girl on the bed, close the window just before the scene changes. We see a chain-smoking man sitting in front of a laptop, staring at images of young (but clothed) girls. We watch as children are taken off a boat and walked in front of men in a “sex hotel.” The film has few, if any, moments to lighten the mood. Perhaps that’s because the subject is so depraved.

As Tim tells someone in the film, child sex trafficking is rarely discussed because it’s “too ugly for polite conversation.”

Photo courtesy: ©Angel Studios, used with permission.

Sound of Freedom

4. It Could Spark a Movement

Take a moment to consider the social issues that dominate conversations in America. There’s abortion, environmentalism, gender matters and gambling, to name a few. But child sex trafficking? It rarely gets a front-page mention in the news, much less a passing mention.

Caviezel believes Sound of Freedom could be the Uncle Tom's Cabin for the issue. That 1852 book by Harriet Beecher Stowe revealed the depravity of slavery. Sound of Freedom does that for child sex trafficking, showing us a dark corner of the world we would rather forget. Tim Ballard was a hero … but the movement needs many more like him, in every sphere of society. The Bible, after all, calls us to “rescue those being led away to death” (Proverbs 24:11).

“I think we can make Sound of Freedom, the Uncle Tom's Cabin of 21st-century slavery,” he said. “... We believe this movie has the power to be a huge step forward toward ending child trafficking, but it will only have that effect if millions of people see it.”

Rated PG-13 for thematic content involving sex trafficking, violence, language, sexual references, some drug references and smoking throughout. Coarse language: s--t (3), “horny” (three or more). We also hear several sexual phrases about the male anatomy.

Entertainment rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Family-friendly rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

Photo courtesy: ©Angel Studios, used with permission.

Video courtesy: ©Angel Studios, used with permission.

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

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The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.



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