Seriously, if there is any one film everyone on Earth should see, it’s this one. I know a fair amount about Scientology, maybe more than is comfortable. But I STILL learned a few things I didn’t know by watching this documentary, based on the book of the same name by Lawrence Wright.
Scientology has been in the news, and therefore people’s consciousness, for quite some decades now. Time magazine did a big story on them back in the 80’s, among others. Then a few years ago, South Park did a great episode about it and it was hilarious. Suddenly pop culture, and a younger generation knew about it. I’m sure some viewers thought that episode of South Park was a gag. Nope. EVERYTHING they said about Scientology was true. Every word. The big secret beliefs of Scientology were now known. You’ll find out that they keep those core beliefs in a locked chest, presented to only members that reach Level OT III (See the film and learn what that means). But for anyone that still has doubts, that thinks they need a more reliable source of information about what Scientology is all about, well, THIS is the documentary for you. Or if you just want to be informed as possible of the dangers of this organization, you should see this. (Or hey, read the book, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief).
Director Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room) manages to get a number of people you’ll recognize, and some you won’t, on camera to interview about being IN Scientology for years. The shortest tenure of those interviewed is 12 years. The longest? About 30 years. We get to hear from people that were at the top of the chain in this so-called “church”. There is a lot here that I was aware of, but there was still plenty of things that shocked me about the Scientology organization. I’m sure viewers will find it extremely enlightening and frightening.
Of course, so many want to know: Do they talk about John Travolta and Tom Cruise?? YES. Yes, they do. They speak to the woman whose was in the “church” of Scientology for many years, and was Travolta’s handler there. Really interesting stuff. And, though my feelings about Tom Cruise were never a secret, after seeing him at ComiCon two years ago to promote Edge of Tomorrow, I softened a bit. He was extremely nice , likable, and charismatic. It was almost impossible for me to dislike this guy. Well, this film has rekindled my distaste of him. He is clearly (Ha – unintentional joke) a scary person that should not be allowed in people’s homes. That charisma? He uses it to disarm people and then spring his Scientology nonsense on them. It’s creepy and wrong. If you see this film and still think he’s a neat guy, then there’s a problem. If you just love him SO much that you won’t see this film because you’re afraid it will tarnish your opinion of him, then may the ignorance within which you wallow be your downfall. Hey, I get it, you don’t always have to like someone personally to appreciate their work. But we all have to decide where to draw that line, and I draw it here with Tom Cruise.
Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, is an exceptional film. It enlightens, educates, and uses first person experiences – people who have lived it – to provide the viewer with information we can use to make our own determination (which should be unanimous for all free-thinking beings). The author didn’t set out to do an expose’, but as he dug deeper, he found all the facts presented.
You should see this film. Absolutely. Unequivocally. Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief is an important, and unflattering documentary on what is clearly a cult. Oh, yeah, I’m pulling out all five kitten hands on this.
~ Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer, can’t recommend this enough, and look forward to reading the book which I happen to have bought a couple months ago.