Thursday, 2 April 2015

REVIEW - GOING CLEAR: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE PRISON OF BELIEF (ALEX GIBNEY)


Alex Gibney's Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief operates in the understanding that most of us don't need a Scientology expose, but Hollywood does. I'd call this a star-flecked documentary, rather than star-studded, but it's nevertheless a fairly elite affair. And why not? What better way to grab our attention? The church / cult employs the same methods, only more covertly, more contemptuously. Gibney's celebrities don't distract much from his sober pacing and often dry, repetitive style - it's highly dependent on the quality of the material he unearths. Going Clear contains much scandalous, sensational material, but it unearths precious little of it, and while the outrage it inspires may be true, it's not fresh. The sadness that seeps in toward the end is what lingers. For all that Gibney insists on shocking, he neglects to paint a broader picture - the massive crowds attending the group's vulgar arena shows are left faceless, thus drawn appropriately as the lily-livered sheep they indeed are. But what of the practices of Scientology? What, in fact, is so appealing about this movement, given that it seems so patently unappealing from any significant distance? The litany of abuses committed by both the 'church' and its current leader, David Miscavige, can only appall us so far in such thin context, though you'll be hard pushed (or perhaps hard audited) to forget them. Situated among these stars, and the stars up above which may one day be yet another home should Xenu opt to relocate our crowded asses once more, the most compelling of all is Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. His creation is described here as something like an education into his mindset. It's quite the education, I learned a lot. srsly on OTVIII rn