GOING CLEAR: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE PRISON OF BELIEF is a feature length documentary about Scientology made by Alex Gibney. It examines the experiences of high profile ex-Scientologist screenwriter Paul Haggis (Quantum of Solace, Million Dollar Baby) as well as detailing the life of Scientology founder and science fiction author L.Ron Hubbard. The birth, growth and subsequent controversies surrounding Hubbard’s church are investigated in detail. The stories of current celebrity members such as John Travolta and Tom Cruise are also woven through the documentary’s two-hour length.
There are interviews with a group of former high-ranking Scientologists who are now speaking out against the Church and its practices. Their knowledge is based on their own activities especially in regard to journalistic enquiry from outsiders or dissent within the ranks. They followed Hubbard’s doctrine of attack as the best form of defence.
Gibney’s credentials as director include We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks (2012), Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room (2015) and Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (2013). He is well-versed in taking on organizations who have a reputation for secrecy. His film also makes a case against the Church’s tax-free status. It examines how it battled the Internal Revenue Service in order to achieve this result.
Although the movie has a theatrical release in Australia, it screened as an HBO special in the USA where it gained a number of positive reviews from critics. Current Scientologists have condemned the movie as one-sided. Why not see the documentary and decide for yourself?