Sound of Freedom

Sound of Freedom ★★★

Competently shot and well-acted with a very good cast, though giving off strong "eat your vegetables" vibes. (This is as much like homework as any black-and-white classic or modern oscar-bait movie that gets tagged with the "veggies" label.)

At the end of the movie, Jim Caviezel comes on the screen and gives a "thanks for coming to the movies, this is the power of theaters" speech of the sort we've seen a lot of at the BEGINNING of movies (most recently, Dead Reckoning). At the close of the speech, he flashes a QR code and says that no one should be able to see this movie because they can't afford it, so please "pay it forward" and help someone who otherwise couldn't see the movie see it. And—hand to God—a woman who had lingered by the exit when she heard the speech start pulled out her phone, snapped the QR code and, as best as I could see two or three rows back, bought a ticket. This movie is going to make $200 million.

Which brings me to my meta-discourse point: I think it's a ... mistake ... for progressives to sneeringly dismiss this as "the Q movie," even if Ballard has played footsie with the QAnon dopes to spread his message, even if Caviezel himself has gone done the Q rabbit hole. It's a mistake for two reasons. Reason the first: this is, on the surface, a fairly straightforward movie about the evils of child trafficking and child pornography, which are both real and horrifying (even if not to the extent that the Wayfair-is-selling-kids nutjobs think it is), and there's no particularly good reason to be dismissive of child trafficking as a source of cinematic tension. (It reminds me a bit of when some critics got very snippy about Peppermint and the last Rambo movie using cartels as villains because "oh no, stereotyping." It's okay to portray the cartels as wicked, I promise you.) Reason the second: this movie is very clearly touching a nerve with a lot of people, and if you say to them "well this thing that moved you to spend money out of your own pocket to help some stranger see it is QAnon," there's a better than even chance they respond by saying "well, okay, what else does this QAnon feller think, huh?"

Anyway. The trailers in front of the flick were kind of funny. There was one about the trip to Bethlehem, followed by one with Ron Perlman as an old-man revenge action guy named The Baker, followed by Oppenheimer (which will probably wind up driving as much business for Nolan's latest as any other piece of marketing Universal has done, given that the audience for this movie is made up largely of infrequent moviegoers who might be interested in a historical drama about America ending World War II), followed by three Christian movies: a Christian sports movie, a Christian nun movie, and a Christian multiverse movie starring Neal McDonough. That's right, even Angel Studios is headed into the multiverse. God save us.

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