The sound of freedom

Murray Smith

It took a while to arrive here, but Kiwi audiences have had the option of viewing the movie, Sound of Freedom in local cinemas.

I watched it within days of its New Zealand release, having waited ages for it to be released at all. Powerful brokers in the United States revealed little appetite for this film with its confronting message.

Sound of Freedom was shot in 2018 for 21st Century Fox, but was shelved when the studio was acquired by Disney in 2019. Purchased and then released by Angel Studios in July 2023, the movie has gained traction following an impressive launch, soundly vindicating its case. There’s questions as to why it was shelved in the first place and what was really behind the opposition leading to its launch being roadblocked in multiple ways. Honest answers may never be forthcoming to those questions – perhaps the real reasons likely reside within the story and message of the film itself.

It’s a story about a war. A war being waged against children and their right to grow up innocently, in the security of love, safety and happiness.

“Sound of Freedom” finds its context in the proliferation of child sex trafficking and is based on the real story of Tim Ballard, a former Department for Homeland Security agent. Ballard conducted an undercover rescue operation to recover a young brother and sister trafficked through a shadowy paedophilia ring. This operation resulted in the successful rescue of multiple children and the arrest of a large network of traffickers. It stars Jim Caviezel, perhaps known for his leading role as Jesus in Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ”.

That connection alone has critics alleging ‘right-wing religion’ spawned the movie, discrediting and labelling it as misleading, exaggerated sensationalism. In a culture seemingly hell bent on ‘cancelling’ truth and ‘normalising’ alternative deceptive narratives, what else might one expect? Basically, the objections minimise evidence of child sex trafficking existing at the rampant worldwide scale portrayed.

The film neither promotes ‘conspiracy’ views, or carries a politically motivated bias – nor does it come across as having been hatched from a strident ‘faith-based’ position. Nonetheless it refers to children belonging to God, that forces of evil are real and quotes Jesus’ warning in Luke 17: 2, “Better a millstone be hung around your neck and you be cast into the sea than you should ever hurt one of these little ones”.

The globally pervasive issue of exploiting children is no new conflict. Back in the mid ’80’s, John Quinn’s compelling editorial for USA Today challenged the frightening growth and acceptance of child exploitation in explicit advertising. Citing ‘Harper’s Bazaar’ Magazine in a photo feature called “Tiny Treasures”, a young girl partially naked, heavily made-up, was used to promote a perfume. The caption, ‘For seduction with just a hint of innocence’, accompanied her holding the bottle…

Today, 40 years later, dark paedophilia depravity in our culture has escalated.

Sound of Freedom is a ‘wakeup call’ underscoring an evil battle none of us should ignore, with certain voices proclaiming ‘minor attraction’ as normal and acceptable.


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