Sydney Film Festival – film#7: Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief

Scientology is a tabloid curiosity for many people because of the celebrities they actively recruit into their pseudo-church, and I’m no different.

Like those many people, I wonder HTF uber-successful people like Tom Cruise can be suckered into a bunch of self-help rahrah codswallop.

This documentary reminds us that Dinaetics (the bible of Scientology) was like the Da Vinci Code of it’s day; it was everywhere. People came in droves looking for a self-help savior in the post-WWII conservative years in America.

Hubbard’s message must have resonated with a lot of people, but it was a fad, and like most fads, it started to die out, until he sprinkled it with a bit of marketing genius and turned it into a religion. The sinister part though, is the Nazi-like fear tactics Scientology uses to silence their critics from within and from without.

‘Going Clear’ lays it all out, with the help of celebrities who have left the church and footage from Scientology meetings that most of us have never seen. It’s frightening, fascinating and ultimately, head-shakingly sad. I wonder though, have not other religions of the world used similar tactics of fear to control their believers in the past?

GRADE: 9/10

(USA) Dir: Alex Gibney; Writer: Alex Gibney, Lawrence Wright (book)

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