GOING CLEAR: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE PRISON OF BELIEF (2015)

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A previously unseen look into the world of Scientology, Lafayette Ron Hubbard and the basic control of humans that goes to the root of the organisation and exposes them for what they really are.

The first act includes interviews with former members of the ‘church’ detailing their introduction and subsequent involvement in the world of Scientology. Watching this exposé it seems unlikely this film could be skewed towards falsehoods and agenda ridden investigating. There is so much evidence presented here by former members it seems like the lid has been truly blown off any secrecy the ‘religion’ has tried to keep under wraps.

This documentary has caused a lot of problems already within the organisation; members leaving, reports of abuse, bad press etc etc.

The amount of counter-tactics the ‘church’ of Scientology have employed to discredit this film, based on the book by Lawrence Wright, are similar to the methods used by criminals; strong-arming, bullying and intimidation at every step of the way. If none of the claims that the book or documentary make are true, by all means refute these claims, but at what cost and why behave like street thugs? If you are secure and confident in your way of life and your ‘religion’ is really genuine then it will survive and flourish. Bullying tactics will be unnecessary.

Scientology have been ruthless in trying to silence any and all critics of them; Hubbard claimed that the church’s critics were criminals who needed to be exposed. What are you people worried about? If you’re spending all this time and money to shame your nay-sayers, what good are you really doing? Where is the ‘Love They Neighbour’ part of your ‘religion’. Almost all of the religions in the world have this as a deep tenet of their teachings, not so the Scientologists.

The second act of this documentary tells of the founder of Scientology, L(afayette) Ron Hubbard, who was a pulp fiction writer for hire in the late 1940’s after the second world war, writing science fiction and fantasy. He developed a set of ideas and practices he called Dianetics and released the book (the Scientology ‘Bible’) in 1950 which contained many of the themes in his previous works and this, along with the religion founded in 1952, would go on to make him a lot of money and allow him to feel (Russian accent) * ‘like a big man’.
He is quoted as saying “You don’t get rich writing science fiction. If you want to get rich, start a religion.”

Hubbard clearly had charisma and the gift of the gab and this allowed him to dupe members into behaving how ‘he’ wants them to. Members use ‘auditing’; in each auditing session a series of questions are asked by the dianetic auditor to help the member to locate and overcome painful experiences of the past. These sessions are recorded and the sessions transcribed allegedly to be used by the people in control for control at a later date. The auditing sessions are not cheap and members are urged to attend more and more to attain the status of ‘clear’.

Ron De Wolfe, Hubbard’s eldest son said:
“My father has always used the confidential information extracted from people during [auditing] to intimidate, threaten and coerce them to do what he wanted, which often meant getting them to give him money.”

Hubbard died in 1986 and so we move onto the third act showing Lafayette’s replacement as the head of the church, David Miscavige, a strange man indeed, from what we are led to believe here he is another one with a complex of sorts, clearly insecure and an incredible bully with intimidation tactics. This act shows Miscavige and the allegations of abuse, unlawful imprisonment and the exploitation of members directed at him.

The big contention was the attempt to make Scientology a religion in order to receive the many tax breaks this gives. Their dirty tricks campaign in order to achieve this status wouldn’t be out of place in the world of politricks. A religion is meant to be a non-profit organisation in order to be registered as a religion and this is clearly not what Scientology does. Massive donations (now tax-free of course) enabled the organization to become very rich indeed paying the lower members of the church a measly wage that would be, relatively speaking, in line with the sweat-shop wages around the world. Pure exploitation.

This film doesn’t shy away from the involvement of the celebrity set, which is what makes the whole thing fascinating and the reason it gets put under the spotlight; both Travolta and Cruise have the microscope aimed at them, and uncovers a lot about possible blackmail of sorts that keeps its members towing the party line.

If you are curious about this phenomenon or indeed at all interested in a very powerful presence all over the world then this is a documentary worth seeking out. Skilfully directed by Alex Gibney who previously released ‘We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks’, here he exposes the church for what it is and does it very concisely. HBO does it again.

4/5

*’Rounders’ reference

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EDGE OF TOMORROW (2014)

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This is a prime example of a Hollywood action film; big star, big budget, Hollywood director, Doug Liman, great writers-Christopher McQuarrie, Jez and John-Henry Butterworth, yet it still manages to fail as a decent film.

C.G.I. and actors or C.G.I. actors.

People talk about the fear of not needing actors in the not-too-distant future, as they will be digitally recreated and replaced, well, Tom Cruise is that in real life; a digital, computer generation, Soul-less, although not in a ‘he sold his sold to L. Ron’ or anything so philosophically placed or even anything that could be seen as an inherent evil, devoid of morality, more in the sense of a computer generated character that is not that well-realised, a bot, without the capacity to really feel human emotions or at least re-enact them in an honest, truthful, vulnerable way.

This is my problem with the Cruise-ster, it is that he hides.

Any great actor has the ability to portray real human emotion and to do this usually needs to tap into something truthful within themselves; the greats effortlessly allow the audience into their souls. A computer generated character has no soul and thus, can-not truly replicate the essence of this.

That is why I have a problem with T.C.. He hides.

The one time he truly opened up was for Paul Thomas Anderson and he was lauded for his performance and then on to the next one……back to basics.

There is always a wall surrounding him on screen and that, is not interesting to watch, in order to compensate he surrounds himself with actors of great depth and acclaim as if this will give him kudos by association. The robotic facial and body movement indicating sadness, joy, pain etc is just not believable, but look, there’s an actor of depth to offset the vacuity of the robot, and look at these effects/stunts/dramatics, they are bigger than the star, so enjoy and be stultified into ignorance and the usual opiated state. “Wow, that was a big film”. It will make a lot of money, it is a business after all and if you get a nod from the critics, then cool, but that is NOT why most of the industry are there. Dolla, dolla bill, yo.

So, I get it. It’s just a shame more people aren’t aware of the wool being pulled over the eyes of the consumer. The spectacular spectacle. Blinded by the lights. The ultimate magician’s mis-direct. Give the people what they think they want and they will come in masses and give over their hard earned monies to be part of it.

I get it, I just don’t like it and for years now I have shirked the Hollywood system, as much as I can. Hey, I love a big budget blockbuster when they’re done well as much as the next viewer, but do most of them have to be dumb? Apparently so.

I started hearing “I don’t want to have to think, I just want to be entertained” around the time that reality tv started kicking off and my question was always “what’s wrong with something that makes you think?”

Hell, you can be entertained and think at the same time, look at The Usual Suspects, Twelve Angry Men, all smart films that were both critically and commercially successful.

I think the problem is not that the execs don’t want that, it’s more the fact that they don’t know how to get it, less confidence in the artists and more in the suits

This is a film with all flourish and no pay off. Like Inception, it purports to be something greater than it actually is. It’s basically wearing glasses to try and make itself look more intelligent, but we see through the ruse, don’t we people?

Don’t we? C’mon, join the revolution and shirk these nonsensical, charlatanical, big shiny box/small, shitty presents.

A waste of time.

On a more positive note, the best thing in it was the soldier who gets to kick T.C. when he re-awakens with an “On your feet, maggot.” Played by Terence Maynard, this was a character I would have liked to see more of. Emily Blunt is rooted in her realty and is believable. Brendan Gleeson is getting paid to using his phone, Bill Paxton is also on the phone. The premise is great but the narrative is very messy at times, we’re just expected to be on board, well, I’m hitting the emergency stop. No more……..no more.

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2/5