“Sound of Freedom” is a movie that puts its message about child sex trafficking at the forefront, overshadowing its storytelling. Its aim is to stir up a heightened sense of concern for the horrors surrounding this issue. The film accomplishes this by presenting disturbing scenes of children in peril, being manipulated by unsavory adults, and ensuring their faces stay ingrained in our minds. The central character, Tim Ballard, is portrayed as a weary hero, an American man whose exceptional quality is his compassion. He chooses to leave his position at Homeland Security just months away from earning a pension to go undercover in Colombia and rescue children. Jim Caviezel’s performance exudes a gentle yet gravely serious demeanor, reminiscent of his portrayal of Jesus Christ in “The Passion of the Christ.”
While the story is based on true events, it struggles to come alive due to its heavy-handed execution. Director Alejandro Monteverde meets the basic standards expected from message-driven films, but falls short of fully realizing the ambitious cinematic potential. Stripped of its self-importance, “Sound of Freedom” possesses the elements to be a visually arresting horror film with an art-house sensibility. However, its fixation on significance impedes its ability to transcend mere atmosphere and become a truly engrossing movie.
On its own, “Sound of Freedom” is a somber and protracted affair that lacks a bold narrative stance. Caring for the safety of children is a cause that should resonate effortlessly with any decent human being. Previous films like “Gone Baby Gone” and “Taken” have effectively capitalized on this tension, successfully engaging audiences when children are abducted and thrust into danger. However, the truncated storytelling by co-writers Monteverde and Rod Barr fails to flesh out its ideas or characters, leaving Tim Ballard’s painstaking search for two specific children (Miguel, played by Lucás Ávila, and Rocío, played by Cristal Aparicio) without the necessary intensity. The framing of the film as a “true story” adds a semblance of edge initially, but that too fades away. Visit o2tv movies for more!