Child predators have been a serious fear for decades, as shown in the movie Sound of Freedom (2023), highlighting how disturbing the issue can be. What makes it even scarier is that the film is based on the real story of a former U.S. Department of Homeland Security Agent who saved many young lives and caught countless child predators. The film has sparked controversy since its release, becoming the first indie film to cross over $100 million in North America, and it can’t be blamed on anyone as it stands as a solid independent film.
Watching “Sound of Freedom” can be a stomach-turning experience. Still, we can’t deny that director Alejandro Monteverde, who wrote the movie in 2017 and finished it with the help of his co-writer Rodd Bar, did a great job in addressing the issue and exploring its realm. Here, I’ll delve deeper into what’s inside this box-office hit film and what the ending reveals.
Sound of Freedom (2023) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:
The story starts with a little girl named Rocio, who is singing and playing her drum on a typical day. A woman named Gisselle hears Rocio’s singing and decides to go to Rocio’s house and have a conversation with her father (Roberto). Gisselle has to fake it and pretend to be part of an agency for child stars, telling Roberto that she would like to sign Rocio after hearing her sing.
Miguel (Rocio’s little brother) casually walks in and becomes another target Gisselle is eyeing. Roberto signs and brings his two kids to the studio, where they are positioned with another group of kids for a photoshoot. Gisselle tells Roberto that he can pick up the kids and negotiate the pickup time. When he arrives to get his kids at the agreed-upon time, he finds no one in the building.
At that time, Gisselle and the group of kids are in the van together on their way to their new destination, where they will be sex slaves. Tim Ballard is a Homeland Security agent assigned to investigate and catch a wanted child predator named Ernst Oshinsky. The agent’s team breaks into Oshinsky’s house and finally handcuffs him. Tim has caught over 300 child predators. But deep down, it’s hard for him because he knows he has been unable to find any of those victims.
When Tim gets Oshinsky out of his cell unit, he pretends to convince him he is also a child predator. They arrange a deal in which the kid named “Teddy Bear” (who is actually Miguel) will be brought to him. As Tim gets all the information he needs from Oshinsky, officers put him back in his cell. Tim and the other agents go to Mexico, where Miguel’s buyer named, Earl Backman, arrives with the kid.
The agents get Miguel, and Tim speaks to him, offering comfort and taking him out for some food. During that time, Miguel shares about his time when he was taken and imprisoned, which has been happening for months. Miguel tells Tim that his sister (Rocio) is still in the hands of those child predators and asks him to help find her. Tim brings Miguel back to his father, and as the conversation continues, he expresses how hard it is not to be able to be with both of his kids and only one of them has returned.
Tim goes home to his wife named, Katherine. His wife seems worried about Roberto’s situation, which makes Tim decide and is determined to take down all the child predators, even if Frost (his boss) is somehow against his idea. Tim arrives in Colombia, where the child predator brings the kids. He meets the former cartel member named Vampiro, and they will be working together.
After getting the information about the sex hotel in Thailand, Tim thinks of setting up one there in Columbia to seduce Gisselle and her accomplices. They also discover that Gisselle is a fake name, and her real name is Katy Juarez. Both Tim and Vampiro arrange a meeting with one of Gisselle’s accomplices to have all the kids sent to another new location.
After having more information about the child predators, Tim and Vampiro talk about the latter’s backstory. Their conversation includes him spending time with a woman that he believes was around in her 20s but happens to be actually just 14 years old and has been exploited since she was six years old. Vampiro becomes suicidal because of that, yet he has faith that everything has its purpose, including their mission to help rescue the kids.
As Tim’s boss (Frost) is against his idea to continue the mission, he calls and tells him just to go home and not continue with what they are planning. Frost’s statement leads Tim to decide to resign and commit to completing the mission he started. Vampiro contacts an officer (Jorge) to help them bring Gisselle and her accomplices to their location. The team organizes everything at a beachside location, and half of the kids are being brought there.
One of Gisselle’s accomplices (Carne) tries to sneak off with a young boy named Simba, but as they attempt to sneak, Tim immediately catches their attention. However, things shift differently when Carne threatens Tim with his gun. Then, Vampiro arrives and comes between them. Other children have been taken, and as Frost sends diplomats to help, agents also arrive. They arrest Gisselle and her accomplices (she tries to play the victim, but it’s too late).
Vampiro tells Tim he is the “sound of freedom” after 54 kids were rescued that day. Yet, it happens that Rocio is not one of them. One of Gisselle’s accomplices has been questioned by Tim’s team. He confesses everything after figuring out that Carne is killed in his cell. They discover that the child predators sold Rocio to the FARC, particularly to the man they call “The Scorpion.” Jorge explains to Tim that they won’t be able to rescue Rocio since nobody has access to rebel-occupied territories. But Vampiro, who always comes up with ideas, suggests going undercover as a doctor as it is the only way to get into those territories.
Tim and Vampiro use a boat, yet armed forces catch them. Vampiro is left with Jorge. They take Tim with them for inspection and find vaccines. After that, they bring Tim to the Scorpion’s camp, where he sees Rocio, who is being used as The Scorpion’s sex slave and is commanded to produce illegal substances. Tim has to wait until night for the Scorpion and the armed forces to drink and have fun. It provides him the opportunity to sneak in and rescue Rocio. Rocio gets scared and screams when she sees Tim but then calms down.
The Scorpion hears Rocio’s scream and checks if anything is wrong. As soon as he sees her, he plans to rape her again (as he’s highly intoxicated then), but Tim shows up, jumps on him, and manages to kill him. Tim and Rocio escape before the armed forces notice that The Scorpion is dead. While escaping, they are shot at by armed forces but still manage to escape with the help of Vampiro and Jorge. Tim hands her the necklace that Miguel gave him when he was asking for Tim’s help. Rocio and her family happily reunite.
Sound of Freedom (2023) Movie Ending, Explained:
How does Sound of Freedom end?
When Tim, together with Vampiro and Jorge, reaches the territory, Tim is the only one brought into The Scorpion’s camp. Tim has to go undercover as a doctor and sneak to see Rocio while the armed forces are busy having fun and drinking. The Scorpion catches them and has to check on Rocio, who will be taken and raped again. That’s when Tim fights him and kills him. They manage to ride a boat and escape from the territory. Tim calls Rocio’s family and meets her at the hospital.
When Rocio gets home, she finds a drum inside her room that her father gifts. As soon as she sees it, she immediately plays it and sings a song, just like how the film starts. The ending states that the film is based on a true story. The real person named Tim Ballard helped recover more than 100 victims of sex trafficking.
Why did Tim resign from his job?
In some parts of the film, Tim appears to resign from his job as he has to start a mission to save Rocio from the armed forces. As dangerous as it sounds, Tim’s boss is against his plans and urges him to back out. But Tim became even more committed to his mission and decided to let go of his work. With his wife’s support, he successfully rescued many lives, including Rocio’s. As shown in the film, he also believed that “God’s children are not for sale.” Tim held onto this belief and saved many lives, even if it meant letting go of his job.
What happened to Tim Ballard after he successfully saved Rocio?
The film gives us an epilogue that makes it clear what happened to Tim after he successfully saved Rocio from the FARC. Tim returns to the US, where he has the chance to work to pass laws that allow the government to assist foreign officials in sex trafficking cases. Tim’s mission in Columbia was no joke, as he was in a foreign territory. He testified before the United States Congress to pass the law he wanted to continue what he started.
Tim established Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.) back in 2013. It is still standing today as a non-profit organization that helps save children and everyone from sex trafficking.