Richard and CP24 anchor George Lagogianes have a look at the weekend’s new movies, the Ice Cube high school comedy “Fist Fight,” the Matt Damon white saviour flick “The Great Wall,” Dane DeHaan in the incomprehensible “The Cure for Wellness” and “My Scientology Movie.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Erin Paul to have a look at the big weekend movies, the Ice Cube high school comedy “Fist Fight,” the Matt Damon white saviour flick “The Great Wall,” Dane DeHaan in the incomprehensible “The Cure for Wellness” and “My Scientology Movie.”
There’s a new twenty-first century genre of documentary, the Scientology Expose. From the explosive revelations of “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” and “Scientology: Inside the Cult” to more personal films like “Scientology and Me,” the church that L. Ron Hubbard built has been placed under the glare of the documentary camera like never before. With so many hours of investigation already committed to film, the obvious question is Does “My Scientology Movie” reveal anything we don’t already know?
The answer is no it doesn’t but it at last rehashes the old information in an entertaining way.
Directed by John Dower, and written by and starring Louis Theroux—imagine a glibber and taller John Oliver—uses a variety of devices to tell the tale of Marty Rathbun, a former high-ranking Scientology official, and the church itself. A mix-and-match of reality TV style footage and ambush journalism with talking head footage and recreations with actors hired to play church head honchos, it paints a picture of religious fundamentalism that not only bends the rules of acceptable behaviour but shatters them all in the name of loyalty not to the church but to its head David Miscavige.
It’s not a pretty picture but it’s also not a new picture. All of these docs feature a disenfranchised member of the church and denials from Scientology brass but Dower and Theroux up the ante by including a Tom Cruise impersonator. Irritable and unpredictable, Rathbun, a man who calls Scientology the most, “pernicious, dangerous cult the western world has known in the past 50 years,” spices things up but in the end, with no major revelations “My Scientology Movie” is little more than a greatest hits of facts and innuendo.
Chances are good if you are interested enough to buy a ticket to the new Alex Gibney documentary “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” you already know most of the information contained within.
Based on Lawrence Wright’s 2013 book of the same name, the movie doesn’t cover any unreported revelations. Instead, it does what film does best—show me, don’t tell me. Oscar winner Gibney is a master at layering images for maximum effect, visualizing the alleged tales of abuse within the church in a way that is much more visceral than a simple talking head doc.
For the uninitiated the accusations are quite shocking. Harassment crusades against ex-members and critics are detailed, as is corporal punishment for those who break the rules but choose to stay within the church. Billion year contracts, Tom Cruise’s extreme commitment to the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard—here’s a drinking game idea: take a shot each time someone really famous salutes a photo of L.R.H.—and the church’s war against the IRS are brought to vivid life.
It goes without saying that the Church of Scientology isn’t happy with “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief.” The church’s head honchos have declared a media blackout and declined Gibney’s requests for interviews so the film appears somewhat one-sided. It’s a compelling take down of the religion but would have felt more balanced if current members of the church were included.