Posted Oct 07 2016

My Scientology Movie - This Movie Rocks The Foundations

Dir: John Dower

Starring Louis Theroux, Tom Cruise

Louis Theroux – in his usual unobtrusive manner (!) – wanted to make a doc about Scientology. Only Scientology weren’t too keen on the idea. So instead the dedicated documentarian decided to make a “movie” instead, casting young unsuspecting actors to read the official lines of people such as the religion’s deeply unsettling leader David Miscavige and prime acolyte Tom Cruise. On one level you have to feel sorry for the actors – given the leverage this film seems to suggest and document, they’ll never work in that town again.

Theroux has always had something of an insidious agent provocateur approach to the subjects he takes on  (Jimmy Savile? "Anyone? Anyone? Bueller??") and here it stands him in great stead, even going so far as to almost subvert/discredit his key witness – former Scientology honcho Marty Rathbun, who for the most part delivers terrific testimony here.

But that’s Theroux’ approach – he’s doesn’t know anything, he’s just saying this thing he heard. Except when he’s confronted – and then the man uses that same device to brilliant effect.

This is insightful, frightening on some levels and very, very funny. It doesn’t add anything to Gibney’s earlier Going Clear. Except subjectivity. And for all his abilities as a maker of fine documentaries, Theroux has never been about being objective. 


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