Remarks: Going Clear is very engaging, highly informative, emotional, and at times, downright scary. Yet director Alex Gibney never smacks us in the face with a heavy-handed approach. He lets the impact of each interviewee's personal account speak for itself, as well as the documented words of its current leader, David Miscavige.
In many cases, we're simply told how scientology works, using the group's own terminology and archival footage of L. Ron Hubbard in his own words. I'm guessing that would be enough to help most viewers form an opinion.
As you would expect, we're given a close-up look at Tom Cruise and John Travolta, and their involvement as the highest profile scientologists in the world. Those moments are powerful and frightening, as we can only speculate on just how seriously the religion might be affecting their respective mental states.
But the documentary never stoops to tabloid-level gossip, and we're left wondering whether or not to regard Cruise and Travolta with either contempt or pity.
Intentional or not, Going Clear serves as a cautionary tale not just about the influence of Scientology, but of cults in general. And despite the access to information we have thanks to the internet, the undue influence of high control groups (aka cults) continue to ruin lives.
No matter how intelligent or educated we are, undue influence has the ability to affect us all…but only if we allow it. Our ability to think for ourselves is a valuable asset, and one that should never be surrendered.
For as long as the link is available, I recommend you watch the documentary for yourself here
(4 stars out of 4)
Review written by: Joe Yang
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