I’ve watched the movie and I can tell you that it’s absolutely absurd what I have read in the media about this film having anything to do with Q-anon conspiracy theories. This is a true story. Tim Ballard (the protagonist, played by Jim Caviezel) is a real person, and all of this really happened in 2014 when Ballard went undercover in Colombia to rescue over 120 women and children from a sex trafficking operation. Why then are various mainstream media outlets tying it to Q-anon conspiracy theories?
The reason is simple: political agenda.
It’s sad that this is where we are today in the U.S., but people have apparently become so divisive on every issue, even one as universal as child sex trafficking, to the point where we can’t even watch a dramatic portrayal of true events without politicizing it. Apparently, the writers of major media outlets can’t separate the people who created the movie from the reality that the movie is portraying due to the fact that both Caviezel and Ballard have ties to the right-wing of U.S. politics.
Ballard, the more pragmatic out of the two conservatives, was appointed the White House Public-Private Partnership Advisory Council to End Human Trafficking by Donald Trump in 2019. Somehow, this makes him a conspiracy theorist despite his story being 100% true, and even documented with surveillance camera footage anyone can find with a quick google search. And have I mentioned that there were several dozen U.S. and Colombian officers involved in the sting operation?
Nevertheless, Rolling Stone’s assessment was that the film is “a QAnon-tinged thriller” that is a “superhero movie for dad’s with brainworms” despite the movie having nothing to do with conspiracy theories, nothing to do with baby-eating Democrats, literally NOTHING to do with anything even remotely related to Q-Anon at all. It’s a film about a true story of a rescue operation, that’s all.
The New York Times called it a “conservative hit” just because Trump, Ted Cruz, and several other prominent Republicans supported it in public statements. I’m sorry, does this mean that only conservatives think it’s an important movie to see? Does this mean mostly conservatives think so? This sort of headline makes it seem like it’s a movie for conservatives only when in actuality it’s just a hit in general because it’s a topic that affects everyone.
Perhaps the worst hit piece I’ve seen about this movie is from Vice, who says the organization Tim Ballard founded, Operation Underground Railroad or OUR, has a “long history of false claims” and “unprovable claims about its paramilitary missions and role in rescuing trafficked kids”. If that were true, how are there several news articles from 2014 detailing the exact mission from the movie? In fact, even Rolling Stone had an article about the operation at the time!
This movie is not even the first to tell this story. In 2010, Rachel Weisz had the lead role in the movie The Whistleblower, somewhat of a biopic about Kathryn Bolkovac, a Nebraska cop who served as a peacekeeper in post-war Bosnia and outed the U.N. for covering up a major sex trafficking scandal involving not only organized crime but politicians as well. For that matter, Sound of Freedom really isn’t even an original story, a fact which should evoke sadness, heartache, remorse, and concern that there are multiple stories of human trafficking. By changing the narrative in the media to a politicized controversy we aren’t focusing on the actual issue the movie is dealing with. People are getting false information from these major media outlets, not from the movie itself.
The movie itself takes liberties with the actual story line of the operation, as do most movies based on true stories, but this is not a point of contention for me the way it is with many critics. Oliver Stone’s JFK comes to mind, where many people felt the dramatization of some of the film’s sequences had falsely depicted what is known to be true according to historical news and government documents. The reason I don’t see this as an issue is because the main focus isn’t what shirt someone wore on what day, or how emotional two people were when they saw each other, or what words were specifically said in a random given situation. If the focus is on the rescue mission and Ballard’s commitment, and how he worked with authorities to see it through, then why do the little details matter? This isn’t a documentary, it’s a crime drama. The term “based on a true story” doesn’t mean “everything you see here is exactly how things happened”.
My recommendation is to see Sound of Freedom. It’s a movie about human trafficking, a very real conspiracy between gangsters who operate in the shadows. Yes, it’s an actual conspiracy, not a theory. These events did actually happen. And these events won’t be the last.