Saturday, December 5, 2015

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief

Plot: Going Clear is a documentary about L Ron Hubbard and the Church of Scientology. It focuses former church members who talk about cult-like mind-control and physical abuse.  [imdb]    [photos]

Review: Going Clear is a straight-up documentary that is mostly interviews. Early on it keeps moving, and has interesting video to show during the narration. It a good story, but it bogs down after Hubbard dies and the abuse stories get repetitive. Famous Scientologists like John Travolta and Tom Cruise were profiled with tabloid-like focus.

I once-again realized narrow cults can be very powerful, and worse, this cult had lie detector that the faithful used on each other to enforce orthodoxy.  The Sea Org, serves as the clergy, and these people are barely paid, on the other had, the church collectively seems obsessively focused on money. Other charities with unpaid staff also have corruption issues. Paying workers fairly reduces this kind of corruption.

I enjoyed the first half hour or so, after that, it was like doing my third set of leg presses -- not fun any more. 

Directed, Written and Narrated by: Alex Gibney; based on the book by Lawrence Wright

The Music: As in many documentaries, the music is queued to how they want you to feel.

The Visuals:
 The art design of the Scientology conventions was great: majestic.

2.0 stars - might have made a better 20 minute segment on a TV news show 

More: Here is a link to Scientology founder L Ron Hubbard's Wikipedia entry.