The decade's most triggering comedy
Sometime between the years of 2018 and 2023, Left-leaning news outlet The Guardian went from writing their own exposes about child sex trafficking to denigrating a movie that does the same by calling it “QAnon-adjacent.”
Reviewer Charles Bramesco makes no effort to hide his abhorrence for the massively popular Angel Studios film “Sound of Freedom,” which recounts the true story of Tim Ballard, a federal agent who quit his job to save a young girl from sex slavery in South America. The newly released movie shocked Hollywood industry insiders with its impressive box office numbers despite a lack of major promotion.
“Sound of Freedom” was in the number one spot at the U.S. box office on July 4, beating out Disney’s highly-anticipated “Indiana Jones and The Dial of Destiny” and other huge releases during the 4th of July holiday.
Bramesco won’t even admit that success was valid. The reviewer said that “Sound of Freedom” only outperformed “Indiana Jones” for a “fleeting moment this past Fourth of July, while the intended audience of Indy’s latest outing was presumably spending time with their families and friends at barbecues or in other social situations.”
He further called the undeniably impressive box office ticket sales reports “selective” and as having “almost willfully misleading framing” to create a “David-and-Goliath narrative.”
Box office earnings aside, it’s hard to see how a formerly bipartisan issue such as working to end the horror of human trafficking could possibly be seen as primarily Right-wing, or as controversial in the slightest.
Conservative commentator Jack Posobiec pointed out how The Guardian itself did an in-depth expose on child trafficking in 2018. The piece, titled “Child sex trafficking rife in Colombia’s picturesque Cartagena,” featured interviews with victims of the practice, including teenage girls who were kidnapped, raped, and otherwise abused.
The Guardian ran a huge exposé on child sex trafficking in Columbia in 2018
Now they are saying it's a conspiracy theory to watch a movie about child sex trafficking set in Columbia pic.twitter.com/sQHVUpaKlM
— Jack Poso 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) July 7, 2023
Writer Mathew Charles described trafficking as the country’s “shameful problem” that had become “out of control” in the city. The expose also highlighted the thriving sex tourism industry where younger victims fetched the highest prices. One interviewee said underage workers “earn a lot more.”
“Clients pay more for them, but sometimes they can be scared. Often, they’re given drugs first or lots of alcohol to get them drunk. I think it makes it easier,” the 24-year-old sex worker explained.
This coverage stands in stark contrast to the “Sound of Freedom” review, which paints the panic over child sex trafficking as some kind of Right-wing conspiracy theory. Bramesco focuses much of his vitriol at the film’s lead actor Jim Caviezel.
“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 the gravely uttered catchphrase: ‘God’s children are not for sale,’” the Guardian reviewer writes of Caviezel’s performance, referencing his former role as Jesus in Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ.”
Bromesco admits that the movie is solely about trafficking and doesn’t delve into any fringe conspiracy theories. But the reviewer insists that “Sound of Freedom” is a Trojan horse in that respect, implying that viewers are being tricked into believing more elaborate conspiracies just by accepting the film at face value.
“The trafficking follows no motivation more elaborate than the servicing of rich predators, eliding all talk of body-part black markets and the precious organic biochemical of adrenochrome harvested as a Satanic key to eternal life,” he writes. “The first rule of QAnon: you don’t talk about QAnon where the normals can hear you.”
The Guardian reviewer next accuses “Sound of Freedom” of “prend[ing] to be a real movie” just as he accuses crisis pregnancy centers, which offer mothers-to-be resources and prenatal care, of “masquerading” as “bona fide health clinic(s).”
Bromesco concludes by mocking Angel Studios for providing a QR code that would allow viewers to purchase tickets for other prospective attendees. He sees the whole thing as a shameless money grab rather than as a way for creators to find a creative way to spread the message.
The Guardian review of “Sound of Freedom” is not common. Moviegoers are mostly stunned and moved by the effort by Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Monteverde.
Reviewer Aaron Gleason at The Federalist called the film “a heartbreaking and hopeful call to action.” Unlike Bromesco, he believed the central aim of “Sound of Freedom” creators was to inspire viewers to take action against these atrocities. Gleason notes how Caviezel gives a stunning performance, but ultimately it’s the young actors who drive the message home.
“It’s about the children — lost, invisible children who suffer in the depths of hell every single day. While the rich and powerful try to indoctrinate us with critical race theory and other ideological moralisms, true victims suffer in literal cages and chains,” he writes.
Even more mainstream reviewers found the movie effective. A Variety reviewer said Caviezel “anchors” this “solidly made and disquieting thriller.” They also wrote that while it’s “been sold as a ‘conservative’ thriller,” you “don’t need that mindset to find it compelling.”
“You needn’t hold extreme beliefs to experience ‘Sound of Freedom’ as a compelling movie that shines an authentic light on one of the crucial criminal horrors of our time, one that Hollywood has mostly shied away from,” Variety writer Owen Gleiberman concluded after stating he does not believe in Pizzagate.
The movie currently has a 79% rating on movie review site Rotten Tomatoes and a 100% audience score.
Interestingly, The Guardian released their own short film about child trafficking in June. “The hunt for India’s stolen children” tells the shocking story of teens and younger children who go missing in the Sundarbans, a mangrove forest located in India’s Bay of Bengal.
The 15-minute video has many of the same elements as “Sound of Freedom.” There are survivors who recount some of the horrors they experienced after being drugged, kidnapped, and gang raped. At one point, a non-profit coordinator admits that at least one victim was kidnapped specifically for traffickers to sell their blood.
The Guardian’s video also features police staging a rescue of two sisters who were trafficked to another region and sold as sex slaves. Viewers could argue that their story was a shorter version of Agent Ballard’s quest to reunite trafficked siblings.
The major difference between “Sound of Freedom” and “India’s stolen children” is the framing. The Guardian’s expose blames trafficking on poverty in the region that’s exacerbated by climate change, which has caused the already impoverished region to become poorer and less stable.
“The Sundarbans is the world’s largest mangrove forest and one of the most climate vulnerable locations on the planet,” the video description says. “Climate change has taken an enormous toll on the rainforest in recent years, repeatedly uprooting families and decimating the incomes of residents who have traditionally relied heavily on agriculture and fishing for their livelihoods.”
“Now, repeated natural disasters and environmental changes to the region have created a highly vulnerable population increasingly at risk of participating in or becoming victims of child trafficking,” it reads.
Ending child trafficking is still a topic leftists will champion. But only when it fits the rest of their narrative.
The title of this article was changed for clarity. Previous title was “‘Sound Of Freedom’ Mocked As ‘QAnon Adjacent’ Despite Sex Trafficking Being Non-Partisan.”