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The Sound of True Freedom

sound of freedom
Screengrab via YouTube / @IGNMovieTrailers

I’m a movie freak—always have been.

Even when I was a committed-to-Christ teenager attending an independent fundamentalist church that frowned upon going to the movies, I’d regularly break ranks, walk to the Westminster 6 theaters, and watch the latest, greatest cinema masterpiece.

I remember watching “Rocky” there for the first time, in 1976. This boxing movie gut-punched me, and I ran all the way home with the “Rocky” theme music blaring in my brain as I shadowboxed the imaginary Apollo Creeds in front of me.

Ten years later, when the masterpiece “The Mission” played at my local theater, I sat in tears, not budging until the credits stopped rolling and the lights came up (this was decades before Marvel started adding post-credit bonus scenes).

Another decade later, I was ready to buy a kilt and a broadsword after watching “Braveheart.” And just last week, I saw another movie that stirred my soul: “Sound of Freedom.”

Why ‘Sound of Freedom’ Is Worth Seeing

Great movies are rare, and “Sound of Freedom” is a rare, great movie.

It’s good on several levels.

The child actors, Lucás Ávila as Miguel and Cristal Aparicio as Rocio, are such preciously sweet siblings that your heart drops when they’re taken. The rest of the movie chronicles their story and the story of Tim Ballard, the real-life Homeland Security agent whose story inspired the movie. He quit his job to find and rescue children kidnapped by sex traffickers.

The plot of “Sound of Freedom” is simple, the acting is good, the bad guys are bad, and the good guys are great. From square one, this movie hooks you in, not with “Mission Impossible“–type special effects, but with the simple premise: “What if it were your child? How far would you go?”

I strongly encourage everyone to see this movie.

Answering the Critics

Yes, there’s some controversy about “Sound of Freedom.” Some say the organization that Tim Ballard started to rescue trafficked children has exaggerated its impact and reach. But even if this is true, it shouldn’t keep anyone from making a difference by supporting solid organizations that rescue trafficked kids. Two ministries I would recommend are the International Justice Mission and Destiny Rescue. I’m sure there are more. As you would with any nonprofit ministry, do your research before giving.

Another criticism I’ve heard is that the plot of “Sound of Freedom” is greatly exaggerated when compared to actual events. To me that doesn’t matter. Whenever I see a movie that begins with the words “Based on a true story” or “Inspired by actual events,” I immediately know it’s a movie, not a documentary. Those phrases are movie-speak for: “We took some liberty with the plot so you would enjoy the movie even more.”

Purely by film standards, this movie is worth watching. I’ve seen enough corny Christian movies to say that this is no sanctified version of a Hallmark movie. Instead, this one is on par with “Jesus Revolution.” It paints a powerful, heart-wrenching picture of a horrific, global problem: millions of children and teenagers being trafficked for sex.

This partially crowd-funded movie has blown the box-office expectations away. At the time of this writing, it had surpassed $100 million in sales.

How Can Christians Fight Sex Trafficking? 

So, how should we, as Christians, react to the reality of sex trafficking? To be honest, my gut reaction to watching this movie was an impulse to watch “Taken” again, get on a plane, fly to who-knows-where, take out the bad guys, and rescue all the children!

But as I thought about my “particular set of skills” that I’ve honed over 30 years of ministry, I realized they have nothing to do with fighting the bad guys.

They have everything to do with advancing the Gospel.

The real problem reflected in this movie—and in this fallen world—is the pure evil lodged deep in the human heart. The root of evil that is in the heart of the worst sex trafficker is in our hearts as well.