Saturday 2 March 2024

Movie Review: Sound Of Freedom (2023)

Genre: Drama Thriller  
Director: Alejandro Monteverde  
Starring: Jim Caviezel, Bill Camp, Mira Sorvino  
Running Time: 131 minutes  

Synopsis: In Honduras, child siblings Miguel and Rocio are abducted by ex-beauty queen Giselle on behalf of an international sex trafficking ring. Months later in southern California, US Homeland Security Agent Tim Ballard (Jim Caviezel) extracts information from a captured child porn distributor, leading to Miguel's rescue. Determined to also find Rocio, Tim travels to Colombia and contacts local ex-con Vampiro (Bill Camp), who now specializes in rescuing children. When Homeland Security pull their support, Tim's elaborate sting operation is jeopardized.

What Works Well: Based on actual events, this drama is built upon the painful realities of child exploitation for sex slavery. With the material inherently powerful, director Alejandro Monteverde sidesteps horrific imagery to avoid sensationalism, and allows Ballard's story to convey devastating impacts through families torn apart and enforcement agents exposed to atrocities. Although more of a drama than a thriller, momentum is maintained thanks to straightforward storytelling, settings full of local colour, and arty cinematography. Bill Camp gets the best scene and adds knowing gruffness to the memorable Vampiro role.

What Does Not Work As Well: With most of the acting at basic levels, the characters fail to rise above stock representations. Mira Sorvino's role as Tim's wife Katherine is truncated towards irrelevance, and the final act in the Colombian jungle exposes the creaky joints holding together an episodic structure.

Conclusion: A harrowing exposition of an underreported tragedy.

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