Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief
Time Out says
If Tom Cruise hasn't already put you off the Church of Scientology, this powerful, searching doc will finish the job
He’s faced off against Enron, Lance Armstrong and the Catholic Church, but now documentary master Alex Gibney is facing his toughest adversary yet: the combined power of the worldwide Church of Scientology. In this searing, eye-opening doc, Gibney offers testimony from former church members – including several from current chairman David Miscavige’s inner circle – alongside a history of the church from its mid-’50s roots in the writings of sci-fi author L Ron Hubbard to its current status as a globe-spanning, multi-million-dollar organisation.
The most colourful recollections concern some of the Church’s infamous celebrity adherents: the tale of Sylvia ‘Spanky’ Taylor, part of John Travolta’s team during his early days as a Scientology convert, is upsetting but all too believable. But it’s the backstory that proves most fascinating: one ex-member recalls her time in Hubbard’s ‘Sea Org’, the ocean-going elite corps at the heart of the Church, while faded interview footage of Hubbard proves enlightening. It may preach largely to the converted, but Gibney’s film offers a remarkable insight into how a religious organisation like Scientology comes into being, and how it sustains itself six decades later.