It’s been a while since I’ve seen a movie this gripping. After watching nonsense fluff all year that, quite frankly, seems designed to just piss me off (Indiana Jones anyone?), seeing something that is as well crafted as Sound Of Freedom, that delves into some nasty subject matter in a restrained way, was refreshing.
It was also gut-punching.
The story of Tim Ballard is a well documented, if not famous. He is a homeland security agent who busts predators here in the states who consume… well let’s just say material that is not kid-friendly, in every sense of the phrase. After taking down another perp, his partner explains that he’s had enough.
He puts a simple question to Tim: How many kids have you saved? When Ballard is unable to reply, that says everything about the problem. Sure, he’s cutting into demand but that’s just a drop in the bucket in tackling the problem.
In the meantime we see how quickly and easily these kids can get taken, with promises of fame and fortune and using a father’s naivete against him. A brother and sister are taken, thrown into a cargo container and split up. The brother ends up a disgusting pig of a man who tries to bring him in the country.
Fortunately Ballard had recognized him from the video he was forced to watch as evidence.
The kid actor does a masterful job of restraint in his acting. He’s absolutely terrified. He’s been obviously used, he’s been told if he says anything they’ll kill his sister (a lie.) When he’s rescued, if you aren’t royally angry and horrified, yet also relieved, you might not be human.
When Ballard realizes that the sister the boy asks him to rescue was also on some of the “evidence,” he makes a big choice to get her.
This will come at the expense of his career. Ballard has seen too much, but this personal connection he’s made with this kid and his family has snapped something inside him. He can no longer make himself content with busting perpetrators.
This sends him down to Columbia where he meets a former cartel member who has dedicated his life to buying these kids and setting them free. He’s a bigger revelation than any other actor as he freaking looks like … well I’m trying not to use the P-word here but you get the idea. But he’s a broken man who is on a mission to get the blackness out of his soul that he will never be able to truly remove.
Caveziel and the rest of the cast do an admirable job with the story. It’s not an action movie, and the closest movie I could compare to this is Sicario. I really was on the edge of my seat nearly the entire time. If I had to praise this movie the most on one thing, it is restraint.
The emotional moments are never typical Hollywood over dramatics, the action is very short and to the point, and not everything ends as you might expect. For instance, in a typical action movie, the hero would be torturing the perp to get information because the audience would be on his side. But here he has to make friends with him, pretend he’s as scummy as the prisoner. Caveziel has to act convincingly to the character that he is indeed scummy but we as an audience can also detect that he would rather be tearing this prick’s head off. It’s a subtle thing but well done.
If I had any complaints about this movie, it was that the music got a little intrusive and obvious once in a while. But that’s a nitpick. Overall, you should see this movie, and you should convince others to as well. This isn’t just important because of the subject matter, it’s also a refutation of Hollywood.
We all know good and well that Hollywood is full of these types of scumbags. It’s something we as audiences may have accepted or at least ignored to our own shame. But things are changing, also to our credit. The fact this movie beat out Indiana Jones is a good sign that we are no longer accepting this anymore.
That we are on to them and their garbage, not just how they are forcing political messages at us but that the general establishment is full of scum.
Let’s not fund them anymore. Put your ticket money to something like this.
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