My Scientology Movie
How fun is Scientology. Or perhaps, how fun is it to make fun of.
How fascinating to watch its public pieces move and talk. I can’t get enough of it. I’ve spent hours and hours on Youtube and the like watching everything I could find. Every doco, every interview, all those confrontational grabs; so obviously, I have really been looking forward to this one.
And what a guy to make it – Louis Theroux! I’ve watched a lot of his work. He’s a real talent to get in close to ‘those’ people in ‘those’ groups. And just somehow hang out with them, for days. But not here, not this time. And it was a win and a fail for the doco.
It’s no surprise at this point that he DIDN’T get inside. It was made clear from the promos that he recreated scenes that are from the memory of former high-ranking Scientologist, Mark Rathbun –the real focus of My Scientology Movie. Louis really wants to get close to the big names – David Miscavige, Tom Cruise; but Mark is as close as he gets. And that’s the win and the fail of this movie.
It is an interesting watch. The casting of an actor that can portray a David or a Tom, not just with looks, but someone that can live up to the emotional memory of Mark Rathbun; the energy, intensity, the physical presence. And then you watch how Mark deals with witnessing these memories brought to life – the conflict within him. You see his brokenness. That’s what Louis wants. And by the end of this movie, Mark knows it.
So when the credits rolled, I was conflicted myself – I really enjoyed it, right up to the end. But in the final moments, it left me with a sad sense of irony. Mark Rathbun survived years of manipulation and mind-games. Now he’s stuck in a weird limbo world, he doesn’t belong to Scientology and they wont let him forget it. He wants a new life in our world but we wont let forget his old one. Louis Theroux makes great docos by using a bunch of his own techniques to get people to condemn themselves. He leaves big pregnant pauses, he just keeps asking the same question over and over again. He’ll put you in a situation which leaves you emotionally compromised, and then go in for the kill with a loaded question.
Mark was hoping for some sympathy, some empathy… You’re not going to get it from Louis, mate.
Rating: M Offensive language.