Sound of Freedom - Movie Review

The Surprise Box Office Hit
Sound of Freedom
Sound of Freedom(Angel Studios)
Published: Aug. 1, 2023 at 3:25 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 2, 2023 at 9:51 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn


The second half of the summer 2023 is looking much better at the box office. People are finally going back to the movies, Barbie and Oppenheimer are racking up huge numbers, but the real Cinderella story is Sound of Freedom. The low-budget (14.5 million) Angel Studios release is on its way to making ten times its budget and then some. This is a huge ROI for a film that was made over five years ago and wasn’t destined for theatrical release at all.

Inspired by the true story of Tim Ballard, who has devoted his life to bringing awareness to child trafficking, it stars Jim Caviezel as Ballard and is written by Rod Barr and Alejandro Monteverde. Monteverde also directed. Specifically, it focuses on the two children who are kidnapped in the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa. Lured by a beautiful woman Giselle played by Yessica Borroto Perryman with promises of entertainment fame, Miguel (an astonishing Lucas Avila) and his older sister Rocio (Cristal Aparicio) disappear from a hotel room where their father, Roberto left them for a closed audition process. Roberto (Jose Zuniga) is devastated when he comes to retrieve them and there isn’t a trace of anything or anyone.

spoiler alerts ahead

Human trafficking is a global business and Ballard, building on a sting in the US manages to get intel that will aid him in the rescue of Miguel and his sister. Things obviously are more complicated than they look, and Ballard travels to Latin America to enlist the help of Vampiro played by Bill Camp in the best supporting performance of the film. With the help of local Colombian authorities and other allies including, Paul a wealthy businessman (Eduardo Verastegui) and empathetic local cop Jorge (Javier Godino) they set up a huge sting: an island where they plan to procure fifty children from Giselle and her gang. Here they have the opportunity to rescue several children at once. The third act involves a much more dangerous mission and puts Ballard in harm’s way, like he has never been before.

Caviezel is an interesting actor who can sometimes be opaque. He has intensity, mystery and depth. One moment he looks like he may hug you, and the next he looks like he may slug you. Somehow this works to the film’s advantage. The film works best in its subtle, visual moments. A close-up of a vulnerable child builds more empathy and emotional engagement than dialogue that verbally states the theme more than once. However, in the filmmakers’ defense there is nothing subtle about children sold into sexual slavery, and therefore the storytelling to be effective, probably shouldn’t be subtle. Was Norma Rae subtle? Was Platoon subtle? Occasionally the pacing of the film is off, and there are some scenes that just feel unnecessary, but for the most part this is a very effective thriller with great cinematography, that highlights and underscores a sad, sickening global problem that hasn’t gotten very much attention in the Hollywood canon.

Note every technical or artistic choice is wise, and this perhaps keeps it from being a great film, but it is a good film made by individuals who obviously feel passionate about the subject matter. Once the light is shed on this horrible crime, you aren’t likely to forget about it.

The film is rated PG-13, and thankfully doesn’t exploit child actors in graphic scenes, however the subject matter certainly isn’t appropriate for children.