‘SOUND of Freedom’ is an independent film based on the real life exploits of Tim Ballard, a former U.S.government agent who became an anti-human trafficking crusader. He founded Operation Underground Railroad or OUR, which aims to save helpless children who are kidnapped and sold to pedophiles.
It was made in 2018 but Walt Disney shelved the film. Its makers bought the rights back with the help of 100,000 online investors called the Angel Guild. The movie was finally released in theaters last July and became a big surprise hit.
It has a budget of only $14.5 million but has since grossed $210 million, making it one of the most successful indie films in history. It’s now being shown in local theaters, and we wished its local distributors promoted it better as it surely deserves to be seen by everyone.
The movie starts in Honduras where a father, Roberto (Jose Zuniga), is convinced by a black woman named Giselle (Yessica Borroto), two allow his two kids, Rocio (Cristal Patricio), 10, and Miguel (Lucas Avila), 8, to join an audition for kiddie stars. He takes his kids to the venue and is told to return for them in the evening.
The kids are made to do a photo shoot, but when their dad returns for them, everyone is gone. It turns out Giselle is kidnapping kids who are then sold to pedophiles abroad as sex slaves.
The movie then shifts to California, where Special Agent Tim Ballard (Jim Caviezel, in what he says is his second most important role after playing Jesus in “The Passion of the Christ”) is waging a personal war against child pornography and ruthless pedophiles.
He gets to arrest one and pretends that he himself is into pedophilia. He then gets to arrest another pedophile, who turns out to be the guy who bought Miguel as his personal sex toy.
He is able to rescue Miguel and return him to his father. This is a heartrending scene in the film. Miguel then asks Tim to also rescue his sister Rocio whose whereabouts they don’t even know.
Tim’s search for Rocio brings him to Colombia where he meets Vampiro (Bill Camp), a former drug trafficker who has reformed and now saves kids from sexual slavery. Vampiro helps Tim to set up Giselle and her cohorts.
When his boss refuses to help Tim, he resigns from his position and does his mission as a personal crusade. They succeed in rescuing 54 children from Giselle but, unfortunately, Rocio is not one of them.
The last half hour of the movie turns into a thriller when Tim finds out Rocio might be with Colombian rebels whose hideout is deep inside the Amazon jungle. Tim is told that he should give up his search as getting inside the forest could be very risky.
But Tim remains undaunted and journeys into the heart of darkness in the rebels’ lair pretending to be a doctor. He learns that Rocio is the personal sex toy of the rebel leader called El Alacran or The Scorpion.
The film’s climax is a chase scene showing Tim and Rocio trying to escape the rebels who are pursuing them. In the end credits, the real Tim appears. His testimony in the U.S. Congress encouraged the government to collaborate with other countries to fight sex trafficking, which is said to be a $150 billion business.
Even more shocking is the revelation that the U.S. is one of the top destinations of traffickers and it has the most number of consumers of child sex. It is also stated that there are more slaves today than at any other time in history, and most of them are children.
No doubt the movie is an informative eye-opener. We are not aware that there are that many pedophiles in the world! This is definitely more horrifying than any horror movie we’ve watched in our lifetime!
The director, Alejandro Monteverde, is actually walking a tightrope in doing this film. He could have easily made the act of child sex abuse more revolting by showing scenes of them being molested, but we’re sure he doesn’t want to be accused of exploiting the child actors he has hired for the film. As such, all these scenes are carefully avoided.
But actual footage of unidentified children being abducted by men in vans or motorcycles in the streets will make you cringe. That there are humans like these evil doers will surely enrage you and make your blood boil.
Although the victims in the movie were shown being rescued, we are sure that their experience in the hands of their monster busers will leave them traumatized and scarred for life. Another similarly acclaimed movie about child trafficking is the Malaysian “Walid”. We hope they get to release that here also.