Going Clear: Scientology (2015)Phil Parker Quick Film Reviews Alex Gibney, documentary, Going Clear, Lawrence Wright, review, Scientology
Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief
On the surface, Going Clear will appeal to those who are confounded by Scientology and how this cult manages to attract celebrities into their pseudo-church. I, too, wonder HTF uber-successful people like Tom Cruise can be suckered into a bunch of self-help rahrah codswallop.
But this documentary reminds us that Dianetics (the bible of Scientology) was like the Da Vinci Code of it’s day – it was everywhere. People came in droves looking for a self-help savior in the post-WWII conservative years in America.
Hubbard’s message resonated with a lot of people, but it was a fad, and like most fads, it started to die out. Until he sprinkled it with a bit of marketing genius and turned it into a religion. The sinister part though, is the Nazi-like fear tactics Scientology uses to silence their critics from within and from without.
‘Going Clear’ lays it all out, with the help of celebrities who have left the church and footage from Scientology meetings that most of us have never seen. It’s frightening, fascinating and ultimately, head-shakingly sad. I wonder though – have not other religions of the world used similar tactics of fear to control their believers in the past? The greatness of a documentary lies in its thought-provoking after effects. And this one has that in spades. I’m still thinking about it two years later! If you haven’t seen this yet, rent it now. You won’t be disappointed.
(USA) Dir: Alex Gibney; Writer: Alex Gibney, Lawrence Wright (book)