It’s a QAnon favourite, but is Sound of Freedom any good?

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“It’s a messed-up world,” a minor character observes near the start of Sound of Freedom, Alejandro Monteverde’s piously sensationalised thriller about the battle against child sex traffickers. Thankfully, there are men who have what it takes to clean up some portion of the mess – men like our hero Tim Ballard, played by Jim Caviezel, looking blonder but hardly less noble than he did as the lead in The Passion of the Christ.

As a Homeland Security investigator in California, Ballard spends his days poring over horrific images of abuse to catch the creeps who share this material over the internet. Understandably, this takes an emotional toll, despite the support of his devoted wife (Mira Sorvino, who gets about three lines).

At the end of his rope, he decides to travel down to Colombia to confront the source of the evil, joining forces with a jovial former cartel accountant (Bill Camp) who has darkness in his past but shares Ballard’s conviction “God’s children are not for sale”.

This is, in theory, a true story – but it depends on what you want to believe. While Ballard is an actual person, many of his public statements about his career have recently been called into question (as of last month, he’s no longer CEO of Operation Underground Railroad, the anti-trafficking non-profit he founded in 2013).

Moreover, he’s admitted that his portrayal here employs more than a little artistic license, especially when Caveziel swings into action hero mode. Nor should the film be taken as a reliable guide to the realities of human trafficking, the bulk of which occurs for reasons unrelated to paedophilia.

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