Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (USA, 2015)

going-clear-posterDirected by: Alex Gibney. After reading this proper review, written by somebody who actually did the research and read the book, I’m embarrassed to say that I took the bait of this movie and swallowed it whole. It’s so easy to be caught up in all the terrible things presented in this movie. And, as that reviewer pointed out, it’s all there—but—what isn’t in the movie is the other part, the part that explains how and why regular, rational, intelligent adults would decide to enter this “church” in the first place. And really, that’s the more interesting stuff anyway. That being said, I think this is a great doc, with a great pace, a good number of interviewees (not too many to keep track of, but enough to present a wide swath of data), and a clear thesis. And the built-in narrative tension based on these people getting out, “escaping”, and the resistance they’re up against, keeps the film from slowing down: I was riveted to my seat as if I was watching a Hollywood thriller. And with these things, it’s always important to keep in mind that we’re only getting one side, etc, don’t judge a book by its cover, etc, even if we’re talking about one of the most notorious, flagrantly fabricated, flagrantly money-grubbing, made-up religions in the world—one established by a science fiction author, no less—the better part of me still likes to be chill and nonjudgemental, and give everyone the benefit of the doubt. But I gotta say, it’s really hard to give these guys the benefit of anything after seeing this movie. And if there are Scientologists out there who would say that letting this movie influence my opinion of Scientology and its upper administration is only evidence that this movie is a propaganda piece and I’m sheepishly allowing myself to be brainwashed by this smear campaign of a documentary, all I can say is: this propaganda is pretty fucking persuasive. (P.S. If anything ever happens to me, take a screen cap of this blog post—these guys are terrifyingly rich and influential)


One response to “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (USA, 2015)

  1. Pingback: List of Judgements, Anno Domini 2015 | Offhand Reviews·

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