The war of words between the left and right in the United States is always exciting and fierce. In the summer of 2023, an independent film called “Sound of Freedom” will provide a new arena for the battle between the two sides. The production cost of the film was only US$14.6 million. It was shelved for many years because the major studios were not optimistic about its commercial prospects. The final publicity and distribution costs were all raised through crowdfunding. But it is such a small film that no one is optimistic about, and it has become the most amazing box office dark horse in the United States this year. On the first day of its release on July 4, it knocked down “Raiders of the Lost Ark” which had dominated the list for four days.
What followed was a wave of controversy. Mainstream media and public opinion in the United States turned a cold shoulder to the film’s success and doubted its potential ideological purpose. On the other hand, those who publicly supported the film are well-known conservative spokespersons: Musk called on everyone to watch the film on his original Twitter platform, which he renamed X; Trump on his own The golf club held a grand screening of the film and said that “Sound of Freedom” has achieved triple success in the sense of art film, entertainment film and documentary.
So, the question naturally arises: What is the origin of this “Voice of Freedom”? Why can it trigger such fierce debates between the left and right in the United States?
The story of “Freedom Speaks” is not complicated. It tells the story of U.S. Homeland Security agent Jim Ballard who still cannot get rid of his inner demons after rescuing a young Honduran boy who was trafficked into a criminal sex trafficking network. Entrusted by the boy’s father, he went to Colombia to perform an undercover mission, trying to rescue the little boy’s sister who was also trafficked. When he learned that the Department of Homeland Security could no longer provide support for him, and that his companions in the rescue operation could not accompany him, he went to the rebel territory in the hinterland of the Colombian jungle alone, fighting one against a hundred, vowing to remove the girl from the pedophile’s clutches. Rescued from the clutches of the devil.
The above plot sounds like an outdated American genre film, like the white-salvation action movies that Stallone and Bruce Willis would star in in their heyday. However, “Sound of Liberty” does not pursue entertainment effects. There are no intuitive scenes of violence, and there is no enjoyable showdown between good and evil. Instead, the entire movie has an extremely slow pace. The golden tone of holy light fills every scene in which the male protagonist appears; the hymn-like choir soundtrack can be heard throughout the two-hour film length; and the iconic image of a white American Christian family – a family of seven The people gather together for breakfast in peace and tranquility – and are conveyed to the audience without any subtlety. Jim, the head of the family, is played by Jim Caviezel, who once starred in “The Passion of the Christ”. His meticulously combed blond hair looks more holy against the golden light behind him, and his eyes are often full of tears. It seems that he is carrying the weight of the whole world, but he also reveals the perseverance that will surely overcome everything. These eyes have been staring at the camera, seeming to be asking for something from the audience, maybe empathy, maybe dependence, maybe faith. All this must be no coincidence.
”Voice of Freedom” has a strong sense of brainwashing and preaching. This is not only due to the ubiquitous Christian overtones throughout the film, but also due to some of the film’s bizarre and intellectually depressing treatments at the narrative level that almost challenge common sense. We don’t know why a U.S. Homeland Security agent was assigned the task of rescuing abducted children in Honduras, nor why the pedophile criminals he came into contact with were released on bail by the judicial system based on his promise. As for the undercover plan he arranged in Colombia and the final scene of breaking into Longtan alone, it was nothing more than child’s play. How could child traffickers bring more than 50 underage children to these “clients” without conducting background checks or conducting any tests? How could the heavily guarded rebel territory relax its vigilance against an American who had only arrived for a day and allow him to operate alone in the territory? All the above settings make people laugh and make the movie lose its credibility.
Taking a step back, “Freedom Speaks” does not provide the audience with any real details that have not been disclosed before. The film does not provide any credible representation of how the child trafficking industrial chain is generated, how it operates, how traffickers target their targets, and how they gain trust from children; what is even more ridiculous is that the villain’s ” “Bad” is basically reflected in appearance. The pedophile character has obscenities written all over his face and has a ridiculously unreal Jewish name; the child trafficker has distorted features and cunning eyes, fearing that others will not see that she is a bad person. What’s more, she is also a black woman.
”Voice of Freedom” has held high the banner of “protecting children” from beginning to end. The male protagonist shouts a powerful slogan in the film: “God’s children are not for sale!” But I’m sorry, in this movie, I didn’t see the creator showing any real care for the children. Children are just props in the film, a symbol of purity. As for their own thoughts and feelings, their desires, dreams and longings, the film does not touch upon them at all, probably because it essentially does not care about these things.
So what is the sound that the adults who filmed “The Voice of Freedom” want to convey? A vague but inflammatory conservative manifesto?
And when we put aside our political stance and return to the movie itself, “Sound of Liberty” is indeed not a movie that has a questioning spirit and expands people’s inherent cognitions. On the contrary, it encourages everyone to confirm their existing cognitions. , whether right or wrong. It does not care about reality, details and characters, but rather conveys some general information that can be clearly interpreted. Any movie like this is dangerous and questionable.