Movie Review – Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (2015)
This documentary, directed by Alex Gibney and based on the book by Lawrence Wright, examines the inner workings and history of the church of Scientology, including interviews from former senior officials who left the church after a variety of troubling issues and circumstances.
This documentary film is a fascinating review of a variety of elements within Scientology. As someone who went into the movie with only a rudimentary knowledge of the church, I felt the documentary did a great job explaining the church’s roots, from founder L. Ron Hubbard, to the present day.
Director Alex Gibney did a great job focusing much of the dialogue and analysis based on interviews with a variety of former members of the church, who had been long time members and could speak about a variety of experiences and situations they had observed or even participated in. By focusing the work in this way, these expert individuals could identify major concerns when it comes to Scientology, such as the way volunteers are treated, the usage of “audit sessions” as a way to track what church members are thinking and doing, and the vast sums of money collected by the organization.
The fact that Scientology Church has come out hard against the film, stating it is filled with lies and personally attacking the director, writer, and those interviewed in the film, just gives increased credence to the material and research within the film and book!
This was an illuminating, interesting analysis of how a religious organization can manipulate and utilize its membership, and is also a warning for all of us, no matter our religion or political beliefs, to never be afraid to ask questions and think critically.
Overall: 4.5 stars out of 5 stars.