The director of US box office smash “Sound of Freedom” wants people to discuss and act on ‘one of the most delicate and sensitive subject matters of our time.’
The moving story of Tim Ballard’s battle against the sexual enslavement of children-a horrifying form of depravity that’s disturbingly widespread-makes for a valuable and ultimately uplifting experience. Yet that payoff has come at an emotional cost to director Alejandro Monteverde. “This success is definitely a phenomenon. I accept them (attacks). I couldn’t control it-you can’t control that. I decided to surrender and see what would result. If you do survive the movie gets stronger,” Monteverde told the Universe.
“Sound of Freedom” has become a huge success in the US, outperforming the latest Indiana Jones film. It has also courted controversy, with some trafficking organisations criticising Monteverde for portraying the issue in an unrealistic light.
“That was definitely an area I wanted to explore objectively. I attempt to tackle everything I do from an objective view so I can really tell a story without an agenda,” he said.
Although it was made five years ago, Alejandro Monteverde believes that the ‘time is right for people to see this film.’ Responding to criticism that the film is unrealistic, and portrays the sensitive issue of child trafficking in an unrealistic light, Monteverde said: “You’re right. The reality is far worse. I did not want to go deeper- I wanted to look at the tip of the iceberg. I just wanted to make a movie and start a conversation.”
The film has made $210 million so far. UK Catholic film critic Kristina Cooper said that ‘the film does bring an important issue to light which is not often covered in popular cinema.’
Monteverde argues that his is the only biopic in history to be criticised for being unrealistic. “That’s the power of cinema,” he said. “This is not a documentary. This is an invitation to start a conversation about one of the most delicate and sensitive subject matters of our time.
“We need to talk about it. Some people will disagree with me. I like to play Devil’s advocate. I was going to do this as a fiction story,” he said.
Jim Caviezel, famous for playing Jesus in The Passion of the Christ, drew on his deeply held Catholic faith to overcome obstacles in making the film.
“Every time I do a film, I pray the rosary and my prayer is that God would use us to really be whatever he needs us to be,” Caviezel said. “In this particular case, it’s a weapon against the greatest evil right now we’ve ever seen. And when the public really wakes up and sees this, it’s going to blow their minds how wicked those people (are) that do what they do with these children.”
Although the tagline of the film is “God’s children are not for sale” and Caviezel’s character quotes lines from the Bible, Monteverde insists that the film is not ‘faith-based’. “That label is a dangerous thing,” he said. “I don’t like any label, because it can exclude. When I see these labels, that doesn’t make sense to me. I attempt to tackle anything I do from an objective point of view.
“This movie is for people of faith, people of no faith and people in between.”
Monteverde pic-Youtube screengrab
Poster from the film “Sound of Freedom” and Jim Caviezel pics -OSV News photo/Angel Studios