At The Movies With Josh: Sound of Freedom

I was having an email exchange with someone about movies and they told me they always thought the original “Ghostbusters” was overrated. I agreed. I then said “The last Ghostbusters was cute, but the one with the women was awful; but I don’t think it’s fair that everyone knocked it because it had a female cast. They should’ve just attacked it because it sucked.”

And that’s kind of what I thought of in regards to this movie. For some reason, all the liberals that heard it was made by a company that does a lot of “faith-based” movies, or it has some ties to FoxNews…they’ve knocked the film or just haven’t reviewed it. There have been other rumors about the left trying to sabotage it.

I have no skin in the fight on the issue of who the company is that makes a movie (unless it’s a Roman Polanski or Mel Gibson picture, or if O.J. Simpson decided to produce a football documentary). My problem is the movie just isn’t very good. A lot of the criminals are caricatures, and it’s hard to buy any of the performances, other than Bill Camp (who kept making me think of the late Ricky Jay). Yet, his chomping on a cigar in virtually every scene was idiotic. And I’m a cigar smoker! I usually would welcome a scene like that. There’s one scene where he gets an important update late at night. Even then, an unlit cigar is in his hand, ready to go. 

Oh wait, there were two other performances I liked. The brother and sister who were abducted (Cristal Aparicio and Lucas Avila). They’re adorable, and it breaks your heart seeing what’s happening to them.

Co-writer/director Alejandro Monteverde (“Little Boy,” “Belle”) took a story about child sex trafficking, and made it feel like a TV special that was rather boring. Yet we’re supposed to believe lead actor Jim Caviezel (“The Passion of the Chris”) in the closing credits, when he gives us a message about how big studios didn’t support the movie for years and years, and that we should get the word out (as my wife said on the way home, how about promoting instead a charity where money would go to former victims or a non-profit to fight sex-trafficking, instead of the studio just wanting to make more on ticket sales). 

Tim Ballard (Caviezel) works in Homeland Security. He has over 300 busts of pedophiles but isn’t satisfied especially after a partner tells him how tough the job is after doing it for a brief time. Ballard has a wife (Mira Sorvino, who isn’t given a lot to do) and many kids, and when the father of the two kids we see abducted in the beginning, puts a guilt trip on him – it’s game on. He now decides to go deeper into the fray. After Miguel is rescued and Rocio isn’t, Ballard makes some demands to his boss Frost (Kurt Fuller). Ballard quits his job (with less than a year to go before his pension would’ve kicked in), goes to Columbia, and meets up with Vampiro (Bill Camp) who used to work for a big cartel but is now on a mission to nab pedophiles.

The first act of the movie is intriguing, but it goes downhill after that. That doesn’t mean there aren’t a few interesting scenes here and there.

It’s interesting to watch Giselle (Yessica Borroto) convince parents their kids have talent and should come with them for an audition process. Yet anybody with a brain said how disgusting it was when we saw JonBennet Ramsey strutting around with makeup on when she was only 3 and 4-years-old. But, I digress.

It’s interesting how they come up with the idea of creating a private club for pedophiles on an island, and the bad guys buy it. Yet, they drop the ball a handful of times. Once Ballard tries to stop the big thug from taking a young boy to his room jeopardizing the entire plan. Later, after the children are rescued, they’re treated in a way that doesn’t ring true. Both my wife and I thought the same thing – that they wouldn’t be all cheerful singing songs and playing after the authorities showed up. Another scene that didn’t work is when a nurse sends a boy who was raped days earlier to go sit on a couch in a hallway while she talks to Ballard. What?

This should have been a more interesting character study on Tim Ballard. His performance in it is also a bit too restrained. The filmmakers had their heart in the right place, but it’s just a bit too slow for the over two hour run time.

While my wife and I were both disappointed, the friend we brought liked it. And a military guy I smoke cigars with, who knew some people involved in rescuing kids from these situations, can’t stop talking about it.

Obviously, it’s dark subject matter, so it’s not a feel-good time at the movies.

1 ½ stars out of 5.

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