The Sound of Silence
The Rescue of Rocio (Cristal Aparicio) From Sex Slavery by Tim Ballard (Jim Caviezel)
Child trafficking is the fastest growing international criminal network the world has ever seen. There are more people enslaved now, by sex trafficking, than there were when slavery was legal.
The Sound of Silence / Simon & Garfunkel (1964)
The actor Jim Caviezel is not popular on the Hollywood social scene. There was his starring role in the 2004 film The Passion of Christ. And now, his starring role in The Sound of Freedom, a film against global trafficking in children for sex. You don’t make the Hollywood cocktail circuit for films like this.
Watch a powerful interview on YouTube of the real-life person Tim Ballard whose true story is the basis for Caviezel’s character in The Sound of Freedom. Ballard is founder of Operation Underground Railroad (OUR) an organization that has saved thousands of children from slavery and sexual exploitation.
The film was produced by Angel Studios. The Provo, Utah studio’s sub-head is “We’re telling stories that amplify light.” The studio is probably best known for its creation and production of the online TV series “The Chosen.” The serialized production followed the life of Jesus Christ, as seen primarily through the eyes of His disciples and by those He interacts with (as described in the four gospels of the Holy Bible). Since its launch in 2020, Season 1 of “The Chosen” has generated over 100 million views and produced over $30 million in revenue.
* * *
The Sound of Freedom film has drawn many to theaters around the nation for its limited run engagement in theaters around the nation. According to Yahoo, its per screen average was nearly twice that of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destin with about $4,400 in 2,634 theaters compared to about $2,543 in 4,600 theaters for the new “Indiana Jones.” Yet, not surprisingly, on July 5th, Publisher of Tribe Media David Suissa wrote media is ignoring the film.
Fortunately, one of Hollywood’s major entertainment reporters – Variety – realize the importantance and power of the film. While heavily marketed in right wing media, Owen Gleiberman notes in his July 2 Variety review:
“Let’s assume that, like me, you’re not a right-wing fundamentalist conspiracy theorist looking for a dark, faith-based suspense film to see over the holiday weekend. (The movie opens July 4.) Even then, 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. The film was completed in 2018 and then shelved by Disney (after it acquired 20th Century Fox, the film’s original studio). It was finally bought back and is now being distributed independently.”
* * *
I watched The Sound of Freedom the other day after just watching two of Netflix’s most successful films ever: Extraction and Extraction 2. The first is about the rescue of a young boy. The second about the rescue of a family. Both are exciting hyper action films with emotional content. Yet both are fictional and based on the rescue of just a few.
The Sound of Freedom involves an on-going non-fictional extraction story. It is about much more than the rescue of a boy and a family. Rather it is about 4,000+ operations, impacting 7,000+ lives and involving 6,500+ lives. The “+” stands for the fact that these operations are ongoing, rising in number each day.
Watching the film is only the first step. Many will probably miss it in our fast-paced world of continual new media content and information overload. Ultimately, you can do a lot more than watch the film. You can get involved in the battle against global child slavery and exploitation by visiting the Operation Underground Railroad website.
* * *
Modern life in 2023 is full of attention grabbing “rabbit holes” for all sorts of worthless, mind-numbing content. As a result, many of the most important things in life offer only dim flickers out the window of our fast-moving train into an AI future. One of these dim flickers is the little attention and interest in child kidnapping, trafficking and exploitation. I’m reminded of an old song by Simon & Garfunkel as perhaps an appropriate alternative title for The Sound of Freedom in their 1964 song “The Sound of Silence” recorded three months after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Garfunkel once said the song is about “the inability of people to communicate with each other, not particularly intentionally but especially emotionally, so what you see around you are people unable to love each other.”
And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
No one dared
Disturb the sound of silence
“Fools” said I, “You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence
And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, “The words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sounds of silence”