Now that “Sound of Freedom” is experiencing box-office success, some critics are linking the movie to conspiracy theories associated with the QAnon movement. They’re also pointing to reasons that “Sound of Freedom” slightly outperformed the newest “Indiana Jones” movie on July 4: “Indiana Jones” had already been out for a few days, and the “Sound of Freedom” studio included $2.6 million earned via an app that lets people donate tickets to other moviegoers.
“Sound of Freedom” stars Jim Caviezel (“The Passion of the Christ”) as Tim Ballard, a former U.S. federal agent who rescued child sex-trafficking victims in South America. The film from Angel Studios has reportedly left some moviegoers in tears due to its portrayal of the evils of trafficking.
‘Sound of Freedom’ Is ‘QAnon-Adjacent,’ Say Critics
“Sound of Freedom,” which is rated PG-13, doesn’t mention conspiracy theories such as QAnon by name. Yet that hasn’t stopped media outlets from making the association—partly due to previous comments by its star. In 2021, Caviezel spoke at a QAnon conference, and during recent interviews he has talked about conspiracy topics such as traffickers harvesting organs and adrenochrome from blood.
In its review of “Sound of Freedom,” The Guardian described the movie as a “QAnon-adjacent thriller seducing America.” The subtext is clear, writes the reviewer: “Those tuned in to the eardrum-perforating frequency of QAnon…have heeded a clarion call that leads right to the multiplex.”
About Caviezel’s portrayal of Ballard, The Guardian writes, “Even if he did not literally have the face of Christ, Ballard would still exude an angelic aura as he gently hoists dirty-faced moppets out of peril with gravely uttered catchphrase: ‘God’s children are not for sale.’” As the credits roll, adds The Guardian, Caviezel “betrays an evident messianic complex by announcing that his movie could very well be the most important ever made, going so far as to compare it to Uncle Tom’s Cabin in its campaign to shine a light on 21st-century slavery.”
Angel Studios executive Jared Geesey said people who claim “Sound of Freedom” plugs conspiracy theories haven’t seen the movie. He credits its success to the “message of freedom,” adding that its release was a great way to “highlight and celebrate the Fourth of July.”
“Sound of Freedom,” which was partially crowdfunded, was completed in 2018, but distributors such as Netflix and Amazon passed on the film. Angel Studios is a two-year-old Utah-based company founded by brothers who are Latter-day Saints.
Tim Ballard and His Operation Underground Railroad
Tim Ballard, the real-life subject of “Sound of Freedom,” left his job with the Department of Homeland Security to pursue sex traffickers. A message at the end of the movie indicates that Ballard and his team “rescued over 120 victims and arrested more than a dozen traffickers” in Colombia.
That team, Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.), has come under fire for its tactics, however. A 2020 investigation by Vice News found “a pattern of image-burnishing and mythology-building, a series of exaggerations that are, in the aggregate, quite misleading.” O.U.R. is currently selling merchandise to raise funds for the World Day Against Trafficking on July 30.