It was dead silent. Not a stir, nor a whisper.
“Do you hear that?” said Vampiro. “That’s the sound of freedom.”
I won’t give away what that sound was. If you haven’t seen it, I strongly encourage you to do so, and to support it here. Buy a ticket for yourself and someone else, if you can. This story needs to be seen. I mean seen. It is easy to look away. It is even easier to know it’s happening but not want to think about it. But now, more than ever, we really need to digest the world we’re living in, and the world we’re quickly becoming. We need to see real evil—for our own good.
Sound of Freedom (2023), directed by Alejandro Monteverde, is the premier film of the year. It’s not just well done, it is a reality check. Rarely am I so absorbed in a film that I forgo analyzing the dang thing, but the deep emotional perpetuity and moral conflict of the story is too visceral to set aside. It’s real. And it’s happening now. Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge (2016) was the last visually rich and emotionally powerful Christian film I can remember, and for entirely different reasons. These kinds of films don’t come out every day. Heck, they don’t come out every year. This film may not be a timeless cinematic masterpiece like, say, The Passion of the Christ (2004)—not that the average person need care about that anyways—but it is vital and imperative for our time. It is a must see. And God knows we all hope this film is not timeless. It is a true story from deep within the trenches of the darkest cesspit of human evil—the global network and bureaucratic recesses of child sex trafficking, trade, and slavery. We should all want this story to be timestamped.
But that didn’t stop some people for smearing it.
What is very disconcerting, to put it conservatively, is just how close to home industrialized pedophilia actually is—United States, Canada, and Europe dominate the online stage with high-rolling Californians leading the charge. Legacy media outlets like CNN, NBC, Vice, The Guardian, The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, and other politically Left leaning news outlets have all but snuffed this film as a ‘4Chan’ or ‘QAnon conspiracy theory,’ discouraging people from googling the film let alone seeing it, advocating that “decent people who wish to live good, happy lives should under no circumstances actually do this” and that it is a myth “conflating consensual sex work with sex trafficking”. Yet both Tim Ballard, the former Department of Homeland Security special agent and CEO of Operation Underground Railroad, and Jim Caviezel, who played Tim Ballard in the film, have testified on the Jordan B. Peterson podcast that this is fake news—a completely false narrative. Jim, Tim, (and Angel Studios) do not hold QAnon beliefs, nor is any of Tim’s life-saving work fabricated. The script was written, locations chosen, actors decided, and production shot long before 2017 when QAnon first popped on the scene. The film also contains real footage from a high-stakes sting operation. Why lie?
In the interview, Disney reportedly purchased the film, sat on it, and then shelved it for nearly five years after they acquired 20th Century Fox in 2018, the film’s original studio. The film would have been shelved indefinitely if not for their painstaking, laborious efforts to retrieve it, if I recall correctly. It makes you wonder—why do that? There is no graphic imagery in the film. No graphic sounds, either. No ‘alt right wing’ suggestive themes. It is brutal in context, but clean in execution. Imagination is enough. There are no big business execs or political groups or Hollywood stars mentioned in the film. It was relatively neutral, if not, vague in its accusations—no finger-pointing or name-calling—apart from revealing footage of the presently detained psychopathic pedophiles who ran the ring, and that America is the top consumer of such “chicken”, a hub hosting about 60% of the world’s pedophilic excremental sludge in a $150 billion sexual exploitation industry (or, at least, it was five years ago). Since then, child pornography has increased by 5000% (that’s tens of millions of child rape videos every year) and America has been surpassed by Europe (Netherlands, predominately) as the largest consumer of child pornography on the planet. It should come as no surprise, then, that these first-world nations also consume the most adult pornography at an early age, as well. This is a statistical fact, not misinformation. So, why oppose it?
To be clear, I don’t mean the opposition fairly critiqued the production quality for its directional merits, acting, or what have you. I mean they publicly slander and libel Jim Caviezel and Tim Ballard, as well as Angel Studios, as radical far right extremists. These big corporations and media outlets are against the intent of the film, not the production quality or how it is written/executed. The film’s central focus and theme was entirely on saving sexually abused children from trade and slavery. It was a raw thriller that tugs at our primordial vocation to protect children. No 4Chan or QAnon suggestive themes whatsoever. To suggest such is total nonsense, a fact even Variety acknowledges. The only non-diegetic intent that can be drawn out of the story is that the global pedophilic black market of child sexual exploitation includes, but is not limited to, wealthy Americans (who remain nameless). So I ask again: Why oppose it?
You could say, for instance, that the big execs at Walt Disney Co. were concerned about profit margins. The film is about a very unappealing topic—it is not something that I would want jump into—so I would imagine many a people, including conservatives who just want to be left alone, would most likely not want to see it let alone think about it. Then again, it does stand against the evidence. The last several years has shown Disney is not really interested in earning a profit (losing $900 million in box office flops, excluding toy and merchandise losses), and much like Bud Light, would rather lose hundreds of millions and propagate woke sexual liberalism to children, like The Fabulous Show with Fay & Fluffy, than produce content holding traditional family values (their biggest market).
If you have a Disney+ account, here’s the link to cancel your subscription.
Pleasure Island is not a fantasy, it is a reality.
And their hands reek of red.
The Social Sexualization of Children
What’s the end game, here? Why smear a film that’s so important to see?
I don’t think I’m too far off in thinking that it has strong ties with the sociopolitical agenda of the LGBTIQA+ community. Consider the push for tiny tots to choose their sexual orientation and “preferred pronouns” when they’re still potty training, the push to transition kids before they’re old enough to drink alcohol, the push for “drag queen story hour” in libraries and kindergarten classes paired with “family friendly” drag shows in the public square where grown men with prosthetic breasts twirk and grind their hips in children’s faces. It’s certainly not happening in old age homes. The secular West is propagating deconstructive sexual ethics and popularizing an over-abundance of sexual pleasure and exploration, which has proven to lead users to find more extreme, deviant, and darker kinds of sexual pleasure to satisfy a new yet stronger urge, à la child rape videos. It is a slow but destructive process. The far Left, secular culture as we know it, is gradually conditioning and desensitizing children through radical sexual education and pornography to get used to this skeevy filth at a disgustingly early age—and the age seems to keep getting lower. It is no wonder that pedophilia is on the rise in young adults. They’ve been groomed! Our sick, Godforsaken materialistic culture is sexualizing our children, driven by a twisted, salivating lust to corrupt innocence. That’s the push. A desire for your children and my children to consent at an age when they don’t even know what consent means. My God, forgive us. The sociopolitical popularization of pedophilia aims to convince children as young as infants and toddlers, ages they will hardly remember when they’re seven, that sexual expression with adults is the purest form of sex and love, so that they grow up believing that their overbearing parents are “conflating consensual sex work with sex trafficking”.
To add more violation to outrage, Matthew Horwood of the Epoch Times reports that public elementary school teachers are now mandated to call children, as early as kindergarten, a neutral preferred pronoun until they know their sexual orientation:
In Ottawa, hundreds of people gathered on June 9 for a protest organized by Chris Elston, who speaks out against gender ideology and gender clinicians’ attempts to transition children to the opposite sex.
On June 13, dozens of people gathered in front of the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board headquarters building to protest, following a leaked Ottawa school board email that told teachers to call all students by “they/them” pronouns at the start of the next school year until they decide on their “preferred” pronouns.
They tried to weasel it in! It had to be leaked for protests to even happen.
In the province of New Brunswick, Premier Blaine Higgs has faced pressure from the opposition and members of his own caucus over his Policy 713, which states that students identifying as transgender or non-binary must now have parental consent in order to change their names within the school system.
On June 9, Mr. Trudeau referred to the New Brunswick Progressive Conservatives government as “far-right political actors … trying to outdo themselves with the types of cruelty and isolation they can inflict on these already vulnerable people.”
Higgs responded with a June 10 tweet saying Trudeau doesn’t “believe parents need be involved in such critical discussions as gender identity, even in children as young as 4.”
Can you see it now?
The Left is grooming children to have voluntary and “consensual” sexual interest with adults, slowly and surely. You don’t need to be a far-right extremist to see the signs. It’s gyrating new laws in Parliament as we speak.
How does that Pride chant go, again? “We’re here, we’re queer, we’re coming for your children!”
Let that sink in.
As Christians, we know things need not be conscious to be purposeful. We know that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood alone (Ephesians 6:10-17). Spiritual evils inundate our world. Pedophiles are gripped and handled by that invisible darkness, albeit willingly, but nevertheless victims of demonic abuse. Like all men ensnared by sin, repentance is a free gift.
Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways….Again, though I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ yet if he turns from his sin and does what is just and right, if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has taken by robbery, and walks in the statutes of life, not doing injustice, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the sins that he has committed shall be remembered against him. He has done what is just and right; he shall surely live.
– Ezekiel 33:11-16
Film Critique *Spoiler Alert*
You know, I was going to write an in-depth critical review, but I can hardly get over the insanity of life right now. So I hope a few passing thoughts suffice.
The direction and cinematography were excellent. The opening camera shot is a beautiful parallel binding the slumdog environment with narratival bitter-sweet expectations. It starts with a wide shot from the dilapidated rooftops as Rocío’s on her bed plays the invisible drums with her flip flops centre frame; the camera then steadily pushes inward and through a window pane into a full shot of Rocío’s still playing the flip flop drums and singing a song. Matching that opening shot with the final shot of the film’s diegetic content was superb, especially since Rocío ends up getting a real drum and the lyrics of the song are revealed in the lower third, which only tightened that knot full circle.
The editing also had great rhythm and pacing—not clunky by any means despite the interspersed flashbacks, which is quite something—I was on the edge of my seat the entire film. You can also tell the film was created as a PSA and edited with saving children as the central focus of the film over and above giving the audience a thriller to be entertained by because of where/how they placed the flashbacks. The film could easily have been edited with the first third focusing on the children being kidnapped, and the next two thirds focusing on Ballard saving them all. Instead, the editor (or screenwriter) chose to put flashbacks to the children’s experiences in the dark recesses throughout to film to keep them in view at all times. You cannot forget about ‘that happening’ earlier in the film. It was always happening, and that was the point. The intent of the film was captured very effectively.
That said, there were moments when dialogue could have improved. In the beginning of Ballard’s story arc, he arrests an active pedophile scrounging the internet for “chicken” from his comfort of his home. After detaining the disturbed weasel, Ballard wins his trust with unwarranted kindness (i.e., giving him moments of freedom) and feigned sadistic gestures (i.e., salivating and biting his lip), constantly suggesting that he, too, is a secret pedophile, playing into the pedophiles darkest fantasies in order to get him to reveal more information. After much play, the pedo hands him a book over the dinner table, within it is a picture of his “first” child. Ballard smiles and quotes Jesus Christ: “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6) After this, he books him for good this time. So far so good. In the middle of his arrest however, the pedophile annoyingly snickers, “I trusted you,” to which Ballard replies, “Never trust a pedophile”. To be honest, that was a little too on the nose for me, but the parallel was drawn nonetheless. Ballard did to him what he does to innocent children. But I don’t think you need the pedo to say quite that for dramatic effect. This is a film, so perhaps showing him having a childish reaction, like a small temper tantrum or meltdown (showing a grown man kicking and screaming and crying not to go to his ‘room’). The verbal point can still get across, but the visual point is intensified by the ironic imagery. There are a couple of moments like this in the film, but I’m nitpicking. It was not bad by any means. Then again, I am also assuming the dialogue was dramatized. Perhaps it wasn’t. (We do live in a Hollywood conditioned culture, do we not?)
Jim Caviezel is a seasoned vet who deeply understands how to visually convey the inner conflict and complexity of the human condition, but he seems to only do movies you will want to watch once. But dang, is it a good movie. He has been set apart for this task, as far as I can see, to bring Christ into the cultural narrative in the only way movies can. In fact, between this film and The Passion of the Christ, I would go as far to say that Caviezel is the top Christian actor of the 21st Century. And here he is again, with another powerhouse release destined to knock your backbone back in place.
Justice demands it.
Matlock Bobechko is the Chief Operating/Creative Officer of Bible Discovery. He is an eclectic Christian thinker and writer, award-winning screenwriter and short filmmaker. He writes a weekly blog on theology, apologetics, and philosophy called Meet Me at the Oak. He is also an Elder at his local church.