Sound of Freedom (Alejandro Monteverde, 2023, USA/Mexico)

Sound of Freedom is the Angel Studios' crowd-funded box office hit that took summer blockbuster season by storm, conquering Tom Cruise's new Mission: Impossible film at the box office. From the same studio that created the series The Chosen, which has been met with similar viral acclaim, Sound of Freedom is a dramatic thriller centered around the world of child trafficking in Latin America. Based on the supposed real-life actions of anti-human trafficking advocate Tim Ballard, the film stars Jim Caviezel (Jesus in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ) as Ballard, a man who eventually goes rogue in his passion to hunt down child predators.

While the film has been billed as something of an action film, it is much more drama-heavy. While there are a few intense action sequences, this is a film that is very much drawn out in dramatic sequences over two hours. Director Alejandro Monteverde brings a polish to the film when it finds its momentum, but his screenplay (co-written with Rod Barr) doesn't lend much depth or complexity to Caviezel's character, or any of the other characters. 

Independent of any controversy surrounding the film, it is easy to see why the film has been successful. In a summer dominated by the pinkness of Barbie and the hefty OppenheimerSound of Freedom provides a third option for an audience (primarily faith-based) that is seeking storytelling on the big screen. The film doesn't traffic in moral ambiguities - it is a clear story of good and evil, told with a Hollywood studio polish (despite being made independently). The film is competently made for sure, but not groundbreaking in any way. Still, it is somehow heartening that an independent film with no big cast attached was somehow able to make as much money as this film did.



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