The biopic of Tim Ballad, a man leaving government work to hunt down child sex-traffickers in Colombia, is getting rave reviews by the public, while being trashed by the liberal media – a dichotomy not entirely lost on some.
While Rolling Stone magazine, The Washington Post, and The Guardian have denounced "The Sound of Freedom," to varying degrees, as a dog whistle for QAnon conspiracy theorists, it is making noise as a box office smash, raising an estimated $40 million in six days, according to Deadline.
You do not just have to follow the money either. A lot of awful films make money.
But the Angel Studios' hit, starring "The Passion of the Christ" actor Jim Caviezel, has received the only A+ on CinemaScore and a 99% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the Tomatometer of professional critic reviews rate it only 76% positive.
Rolling Stone's meltdown titled "'Sound of Freedom' Is a Superhero Movie for Dads With Brainworms" had Bryan Chai of the Western Journal taking particular note of critics minimizing the issue of child-sex trafficking to dis the film as a QAnon conspiracy spreader.
"Ballard, Caviezel, and others of their ilk had primed the public to accept 'Sound of Freedom' as a documentary rather than delusion by fomenting moral panic for years over this grossly exaggerated 'epidemic' of child sex-trafficking, much of it funneling people into conspiracist rabbit holes and QAnon communities," Rolling Stone's Miles Klee wrote. "In short, I was at the movies with people who were there to see their worst fears confirmed."
The Journal's Chai shot back that, despite Klee's dismissal, "child sex-trafficking is an objectively heinous, monstrous and evil stain on humanity."
"Why would you ever, ever, ever downplay it by calling it 'grossly exaggerated'?" Chai wrote. "Even if you truly, genuinely and dementedly believed that child sex-trafficking is just something that happens in life, why would you say that part out loud?
"Could you imagine an actual survivor of child sex-trafficking reading these words? That goes beyond just cruelty and callousness.
"Now, if Klee had issues with the movie's pacing, plot or acting (he does) that is more than fair game for him to critique. But this review takes things to a dark and disturbing place by all but dismissing child sex-trafficking as little more than a made-up boogeyman."
Regardless, it is successful on the bottom line from its small budget to its big returns – all while being in just 3,000 theaters nationwide, Chai noted.
Deadline noted Hollywood's forgetting about middle America in its selling of narratives is a big mistake.
"This is all very reminiscent of 'American Sniper,' but on an indie scale and level," according to Deadline's Anthony D'Alessandro. "I don't mean in terms of gross, but in stoking red state moviegoers, which Hollywood doesn't do often enough, leaving money on the table with what is perhaps the missing link in the post-pandemic box office."
Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.
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