This film might not depict anything visually distasteful, but it is not for the weak-hearted and is difficult to watch. It is honest about what this world is and does. I heard crying throughout the entire theater audience — it is beyond moving. At the end of the film, I wanted to clap, but it felt inappropriate. It was similar to watching “Schindler’s List.” What exactly are we celebrating by clapping for films like this? The heroism I suppose, but it doesn’t feel right. Silent repose seemed to be the most appropriate response.
“Sound of Freedom” follows the true story of Special Agent Tim Ballard who specialized in catching sex criminals, particularly in regard to the exploitation of children on the internet. But Tim is challenged early in the film by the seeming futility of catching criminals when real children’s lives are at stake. Years of looking at the darkest side of humanity has broken his heart to pieces, and the only way he can see to rebuild his humanity is by liberating the lost and forgotten victims of the sex trafficking network. He goes on a quest to South America to do just that.
Jim Caviezel plays Ballard. His classic no-frills acting approach is perfect for this role. Caviezel is best known for playing Jesus in Mel Gibson’s controversial “The Passion of the Christ.” He brings the same level of intensity and compassion from this role to Ballard’s story. In fact, Ballard’s mission to seek and save lost children is a distinctly Christian value based on the theological principle that each child is uniquely beloved by God.
When Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me,” he was making a revolutionary claim. Children, the most vulnerable and dependent members of society, had a special place in his kingdom. They mattered to him in a way that no other religious founder has ever envisioned. The faith of a child was the type of faith Jesus wanted from his followers — one free from the pollution and cynicism of adulthood, one of total dependence on their Heavenly Father.
These values aren’t universally understood and accepted. Ballard’s story is proof of that. According to the movie, the child sex industry brings in $150 billion dollars every year. This industry is powerful and is not nearly as niche as we would like to think it is. While its visible activists are milquetoast perverts we can easily jail, the invisible perpetrators are the ones who do the real damage — the cartels, drug lords, and even our own politicians enable the child sexual slavery that is more prominent now than ever before.
At the end of the film, Caviezel addresses the viewers and makes the point that this story isn’t about a movie production or even about Ballard. It’s about the children — lost, invisible children who suffer in the depths of hell every single day.