(Washington) Criticized by many American media, praised by conservatives, the film Sound of Freedom, a thriller on child trafficking, shakes up the box office and resonates with the ideological divisions which fragment the United States.

Just two weeks after its North American release, the film has grossed over $85.7 million, nearly six times its production cost, and has far outpaced big-budget productions like the latest Indiana Jones. .

The feature film, which is inspired by a true story, tells the heroic rescue of child victims of trafficking. An intrigue at first sight classic and with a consensual morality, which should have been unanimous.

But in a divided country, where culture wars – a term given to explosive controversies over societal issues – are on the rise, the film and its motivations question and divide.

Accused by progressives of being a recruitment tool for far-right groups and of promoting conspiracy theories of the QAnon movement (convinced of the existence of a global sex trafficking network organized by an elite of Satanist pedophiles) , the film was praised by conservatives.

“Almost as interesting as the film itself is the reaction it seems to provoke in the mainstream media, which appear determined to destroy it at all costs,” said British writer Will Jordan in a positive review of the film, posted on his YouTube channel followed by 1.8 million subscribers.

“You would have thought that a film that sheds light on the hidden nightmare of child trafficking would be a rather admirable cause worthy of support,” he continues.

Filmed in 2018 with Mexican funding, the film is inspired by the true story of a former American Homeland Security agent, Tim Ballard, who created the Operation Underground Railroad association in 2013 to help child victims of Colombian sex traffickers.

A cause that has become dear to many conservatives, including ex-President Donald Trump, who is organizing a screening of the film on Wednesday at his New Jersey golf club.

Angel Studios, distributor of the film, is delighted with full houses all over the country. “Seeing the film has become a must, thanks to incredible word-of-mouth,” says Brandon Purdie, in charge of theatrical distribution.

But the film is the subject of much criticism for its portrayal of human trafficking and because of the controversies surrounding the main actor, Jim Caviezel, who notably played Jesus Christ in the film The Passion of the Christ by Mel Gibson.

The 54-year-old actor, a devout Catholic, has participated in several events organized by the Q-Anon movement and defends the conspiracy theory according to which the elites extract children’s blood to feed on adrenochrome, a hormone which would have a power Anti aging.

The man who inspired the film, Tim Ballard, has also publicly flirted with an oft-contradicted theory that a furniture chain sells children. And his association has been accused of having exaggerated its role in the relief operations carried out.

Reactions to the film, positive or negative, highlight a gulf between the opinion of the mainstream press and the opinion of the public, which awarded it a perfect score of 100% on the Rotten Tomatoes website and an A on CinemaScore.

The reviews published by the majority of the major media were negative, with the New York Times or the Guardian criticizing it for its closeness to QAnon or deeming it tasteless.

“Knowing that thousands of adults will swallow the vigilante dream portrayed by Sound of Freedom, and come out feeling better informed about a hidden civilizational crisis… is deeply depressing,” writes Rolling Stone magazine.

Critics in which the writer Will Jordan sees hypocrisy, and opposes the support that the progressives gave to Mignonnes, a French film released by Netflix in 2020 and accused of hypersexualizing young girls.

Sound of Freedom, he says, “reminds us that while there are many bad people in this world who do the worst things imaginable, there are also good men who fight to bring them to justice.”