What a great documentary this was.
Louis Theroux created the documentary investigating the Church of Scientology and the infamous head of the organization David Miscavige. Theroux and his deadpan reactions perfectly displays the craziness of the situations that he found himself in.
Is the Church of Scientology a real religion or a cult? The jury is still out on that one, but this documentary certainly brings the idea to the front.
My Scientology Movie is extremely funny and shows members of the Church doing amazingly unbelievable things. The denials for any sort of interview, the compound protected by flashing lights and wire fences and the use of Scientologists to “squirrel bust” the opposition.
Theroux brings several former Scientologists who have left the religion into the film to help explain the interior workings of the Church of Scientology. Marty Rathbun was a high ranking member when he left the church and he was an amazing character in this film. His reactions were compelling as you could see him struggle with the thoughts of what he went through as well as things that he may have done.
The documentary also cast two actors for “re-creations” of events that, according to Rathburn, happened. The film cast an actor to play the role of David Miscavige as well as an actor to play Tom Cruise, the most famous of the Church of Scientology members. The actor who played Miscavige was Andrew Perez and he had a couple of scenes set up by the documentary that were just transcendent. Cruise was played by Rob Alter, but Cruise had less to do in the documentary than Miscavige.
The casting of these two actors was one of the most interesting parts of the film, as we see Marty explain to the actors exactly how these people would act by using old archival footage of Nightline with Ted Koppel as well as an interview with Tom Cruise.
The sessions of Scientology were extremely fascinating as well, seemingly as much as an acting course as anything else. Or was it brainwashing? Hard to say, but Marty certainly reacted in a dramatic way.
The relationship between Theroux and Marty was very telling as well. Every time Theroux tried to go deeper and get Marty to look at things he may have done, Marty rejected it and fought back.
There is a great scene outside of the Church’s compound between Theroux and one of the Scientologists arguing about a road that had been closed and whether or not anyone had the right to be there. It was funny and jaw dropping at the same time. The fact that the Scientologist was also filming a documentary and had a camera pointing at Theroux every time they were confronting him was a little crazy.
Th documentary was very entertaining and made me wonder about a religion that I really knew little about. I knew that science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard founded the religion and that Tom Cruise (and John Travolta, I believe) are among the members, but a lot of the rest of this was new information and very intriguing.