The Sound of Freedom

When a Faith-Based Film is the Best Non-Faith Based Film I’ve Seen in a Long Time
Image courtesy of Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

I’ll subtitle this “When a Faith-Based Film is the Best Non-Faith Based Film I’ve Seen in a Long Time.”  

“Faith-based” only because the producer, director and star of the film are all Roman Catholic.  I think a better term here might be “faith-aligned”; a term I usually cringe at, but nevertheless adequately describes a film like this.  It’s not at all evangelical schtick, with the typical Pureflix required elements of a dog, a pony and the mandatory conversion experience\altar call.

“Non-faith based” because the story elements are also not typical evangelical film stock.  It’s a gritty issue (child trafficking) told in a gritty way (including some cussing, while not glorifying it, and no blasphemy that I recall), with creative storytelling that alluded to absolute evil without depicting it graphically—a lost art in Hollywood.

I place this film in the same sub-genre as a film like Secretariat or The Book of Eli, except those films had more allusions to Scripture than this one.  

I am glad that the producers and director did not attempt to proselytize for the Vatican in this film.  Not only is that theology errant, but it wouldn’t have fit this story at all.  The subject of the film is LDS (remember, “faith adjacent”?).  Either theology would have distracted from the story.

Jim Caviezel plays Tim Ballard, a former special agent with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security who started Operation Underground Railroad.  Eduardo Verastegui produced the film and Alejandro Monteverde directed.  You have heard us mention Verastegui before since he did the Spanish voice-over on CHOICE42’s The Procedure (El procedimiento), which was co-produced and distributed by Loor.  

The cinematography, the musical score, the acting and writing are all excellent.  The child actors are remarkably good and the entire film is believable. While there is a happy ending, this isn’t a contrived morality play.  

What’s going on is a film that depicts a man acting like a man and defending the weak—no wonder Disney ditched it when they acquired it from Fox! Hollywood doesn’t do strong male characters unless it’s a woman who thinks she’s a man.  

It’s a film that declares, “God’s children are not for sale.” It’s also a film where Caviezel quotes Jesus from Luke 17:2, “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.”  

Or to put it in modern parlance, “It would be better for him if a rope was hung around his neck in a jail cell in New York without a single officer stopping him than to traffick minors.”  

Wassup The Andrew formerly known as Prince?  

The film is a tear-jerker, but not in the evangelical, gratuitous sense.  It doesn’t manipulate; it only portrays the painful truth about this evil as it is.  The tears are not a cheap writing trick.  It won’t win an Academy Award, although it probably should at least be nominated—not enough wokety-woke horse crap for the Leftist elites.  

And the subject matter is a little too close to home.  

A note on the audience in our showing: my wife and I were probably on the younger side of the median age and that’s saying something (we’re in our 50’s).  I wasn’t entirely sure that the guy sitting next to my wife wasn’t going to keel over dead right there in the theater.  There were a few younger GenZs present but they were brought by GenX or Boomers.  I got the distinct impression that they were mostly LDS.  

This film is a proof of concept for Loor (edginess and quality), but unless Angel Studios can demonstrate that GenZ’s in Mormon Country are watching this in numbers, it’s not hitting Loor’s target demographic.  It IS refreshing to see an edgy, faith-aligned film do well.  We are onto something, even though this film wrapped in 2018 or so.  

Jim Caviezel’s special message after the end credits is worth the price of admission.  He repeats some themes about the power of story and the need for another Uncle Tom’s Cabin (we were talking about abolishing abortion and he’s talking about trafficking, but you get the idea) that you’ve read about here over the last couple of years.  Of course, he says it as only he can. If people grasp what he’s saying, you’ll understand the mission of Loor.  

Yes, you should watch it.  Get free tickets here.