“Sound of Freedom” is not a false flag

I went to see “Sound of Freedom” for much the same reason I went to see “Barbie” — to see if the pre-opening buzz was valid.

In the Good Old Days, the pre-opening buzz was gushing, usually planted and ignited by the studios, to amp up appetite for the film.

In our highly politicized era, however, the buzz is more likely to be negative, and an attempt to kill the baby in its crib.

For “Barbie,” the darts came from the Right, painting the movie as an anti-male, post-feminine screed.

As I wrote the other day, it is not. 

I realize everyone views art through their own lens, but any man who feels assaulted by the cartoony  “Barbie” must have a) a very fragile ego, and b) no sense of humor, because the light-hearted movie even pokes fun at Barbie and toymaker Mattel. It is not to be taken seriously and will not  be required viewing for Princeton University’s “Introduction to Post Feminist Thought 101.”

The anti-Barbie shade-throwing was social. 

For “Sound of Freedom,” the artillery fire came from the Left, and it was political.


Partly because male lead Jim Caviezel is an adherent to some QAnon cuckoo conspiracy theories, and supposedly  has made some anti-semitic remarks. (He happens to resemble the real Tim Ballard, hero of the movie).

To politically aligned “critics,” the line of “thinking” goes like this: If QAnon (and garden variety conservatives) like it, it must be bad. And wrong. It is a false flag accusation.

To believe as some do (probably not having seen the movie) that “Sound of Freedom” is QAnon propaganda, then they would have to condemn the “Mission Impossible” franchise as Scientology baloney because of Tom Cruise’s beliefs.

The headline of a review of “Sound of Freedom” in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency said: “Surprise Blockbuster ‘Sound of Freedom’ echoes anti-semitic QAnon conspiracies.”

No it doesn’t, not at all. Not in a single frame, and I was looking and listening for it. No echoes.

I said earlier people view things subjectively, and people are entitled to their opinions, but if those opinions are based on fantasy and bias, they aren’t worth much.

There is nothing in the movie that suggests the popular QAnon conspiracy that Hollywood is a cabal of progressive elites who control the world and run a child-trafficking ring, through which they harvest the hormone adrenochrome from children.

There is nothing in the movie that even hints of any such thing.

German man of letters Johann von Goethe developed a widely-followed three-question formula for judging a work of art:

1) What is the artist trying to do?, 2) How well does the artist do it?, and 3) Is it worth doing? 

There is no 4): What is the artist’s politics, nationality, race, or religion?

“Sound of Freedom” is based on the exploits of Tim Ballard, who worked pedophilia cases for the Department of Homeland Security before quitting to go to Honduras, the intake source for the network of global child trafficking.

The mainspring of the movie is Ballard’s drive to rescue an Honduran 11-year-old girl and her 8-year-old brother who were kidnapped and sold as sex slaves in Colombia.

The movie says it is based on a true story — Tim Ballard’s — and it is, but some elements of it are utterly improbable.

Such as a sting operation he organized in Colombia with the help of a very rich friend. They built a resort that would cater to millionaire pedophiles. Local sex traffickers were invited to bring hostage children to the island where they would be bought. 

Some 54 children were brought to the island, and all the traffickers were arrested. As unbelievable as it sounds, that actually happened — only the number was 120.

The Vice website has reported that Ballard has exaggerated some of his exploits, and recently reportedly left the group he founded, the Operation Underground Railroad, after criticism by some employees. That is true, but happened after events depicted in the movie.

Ballard started Operation Underground Railroad, described by the Calexico Chronicle as “an anti-sex trafficking nonprofit” in 2013. 

Those who think movies “based on a true story” are true to that story in all details are kidding themselves. The extended scene in which Ballard penetrates a rebel army camp to rescue the 11-year-old makes for a happy ending, but is fiction.

Since Ballard has six children, you can infer that he’s a Christian conservative, but he never speaks of religion, other than to say, in explaining his motivation, “God’s children are not for sale.”

That strikes me as more of a moral statement than a religious one.

Another character, Vampiro, was a drug cartel boss who turned to rescuing children after an epiphany, saying, “When God tells you what to do, you cannot hesitate.” That’s it, as far as religion is concerned.

The film was made in 2018, but lost its distributor when Disney acquired 21st Century Fox in 2019. Neither major studio wanted it, nor did Netflix and Amazon.

Early this year it was picked up by Angel Studios, known for making faith-based films.

Why did the majors turn their backs on it?

Well, as an action thriller, it is not a world beater.

It was made for a paltry $14 million, and the budget girdle is obvious in some scenes, such as when Ballard visits a pedophile for the purpose of turning him, and the federal prison is empty of guards or other inmates.

Because it’s going into the weekend, Ballard explains, no one is around. It’s too bad the script writers are on strike.

A thriller requires dramatic tension and jeopardy for the star, which this lacks. The jeopardy attaches to the children, which results more in sympathy than fear. The filmmakers decided against showing any physical or sexual abuse of the terrified children.

So if it  is so weak, why are audiences responding to it so ferociously — more than $110 million since its July 4th opening?

For one thing, it is driven by a clear Good vs Evil narrative, as was “Top Gun: Maverick,” a box office smash. 

For another, the Good Guy wins.

For yet another, it was the emotional subject matter, beautifully executed by the two child actors with the big brown eyes and the fearful posture.

Word-of-mouth propelled ticket sales, and Angel — saying it wanted the important message to reach a maximum audience — made free tickets available and audiences were asked to go to the Angel website to pay it forward by buying tickets for others.

The movie closes by saying child trafficking is a $150-billion business, which is a recognized fact. More than 40 million people are currently held in bondage.

These facts might be new to the audience, and that might have increased their reaction to it.

What I can say for sure, the movie has nothing to do with any conspiracy theories. It tells a ghoulish truth.

I can also say the movie has been warmly received by Republicans, but is viewed with suspicion by Democrats. 

Because only the Right cares about the trafficking of children? Because the subject makes them think of convicted child molester Jeffrey Epstein? 

15 thoughts on ““Sound of Freedom” is not a false flag”

  1. I have never subscribed to the theory of not seeing a film, or someone’s performance, simply because I disagreed with their politics. Why in the world would I deny myself viewing the talents of everyone from Barbara Streisand to Clint Eastwood, simply because I disagreed with them. It’s sad that nearly everything in the world these days in America comes down to right vs. left.

    1. I agree and do the same, with one exception: Jane Fonda. I can’t bring myself to pay for any project she is in. Yeah, I haven’t gotten over her treason during Vietnam. She apologized, but never paid a penalty for giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

  2. I’m fascinated by people who let others make up their mind for them.

    I can’t see the film in question just as I can’t ever sit through Schindler’s List, simply because I cannot emotionally handle films that deal with pain inflicted on children or on the horror inflicted on Jews (and others) in the Holocaust. Notice I said I ‘can’t’ see these films, not that I ‘won’t’ see these films.

    Finally, I too can’t handle Jane Fonda in any film. I won’t judge her but I will not enrich her.

    1. There are sheep, and there are shepherds. “Sound” depicts the evil, but steers away from graphically illustrating any of it.
      But attendance is an individual choice. All I tried to do here is separate the facts from the BS.

    2. I once had such a dilemma about a film – the Passion of the Christ. I talked to my minster saying that I was afraid it would be too graphic – but if He could live it, how could I be such a coward as to not even watch it. He suggested that I should not force anything but a reverent viewing could only enrich our faiths. So I did go to see it. Jim Cavaziel was a real revelation as Jesus.

      (That may be why the Left despises him so, Stu).

      1. I saw “Passion” to see if it was anti-Semitic, as was claimed.
        My conclusion was it followed the Gospels, and to say the film was anti-Semitic meant the Gospels were anti-Semitic.
        The Gospels can be interpreted in more than one way. I felt “Passion” was a fair portrayal.
        I don’t know if the Left hates Caviezel because of his Christ. I think it’s his weird beliefs.

  3. First, I will never forgive Jane Fonda. To not see a movie because of the affect it will have on my ability to handle my own decision making, was never a problem. The drama connected with some war movies especially during the years that I served is very much reality, most I choose not to see. Movies like the Green Beret was a very good propaganda movie for the US, but for those who were there pretty much pissed them off. A documentary I will sit through anytime, and form my own opinion. Hollywood drama about taking peoples lives is another. The explotation of children is NOT entertainment, but it seems to be pushed along as such.Will I see it ? Possibly. You know what they say about opinions, and I have both.

  4. From your comments above, Stu, it seems the movie is not very good. And that’s enough for me. I had no interest in seeing it in the first place, to be honest with you. I don’t go to the theater very often, and if I’m going to spend money there, it will be to see a movie like Oppenheimer, which appears to be an interesting historical study. But I am in total agreement with this much: when a movie states that it is “based on a true story,” you can be the house that there will be dramatic license taken for entertainment purposes. And that’s fine.

  5. Because I can’t stay serious too long, how about a film that involves an affair between Quasimodo and Rebecca? It’s called The Hunchback of Sunnybrook Farm.

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