Watch: Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief 2015 123movies, Full Movie Online – A devastating two hour documentary based on Lawrence Wright’s book of the same name. Scientology is laid bare by a film that skilfully knits together archive footage, testimonials from former high ranking officials and public, and dramatic reconstructions..
Plot: GOING CLEAR intimately profiles eight former members of the Church of Scientology, shining a light on how they attract true believers and the things they do in the name of religion.
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Clearness may be a step towards insanity, not away from it
Alex Gibney’s Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief is such a fantastic documentary because not only does it root itself in facts in an attempt to summarize the Church of Scientology, its founder L. Ron Hubbard, its rise to the mainstream, and its many controversies, but it also strips down its content to its most basic ideas of man and humanity. Gibney examines man’s desire for purpose in the world, and a compelling need to feel significant in the grand scheme of the universe, whilst juxtaposing the ideas of cults and cultic imprisonment and their pursuit for those lost souls who are searching for meaning. Gibney handles all of these elements extraordinarily well, and gives us the rare documentary where we emerge with an immense amount of new information and have a takeaway theme to attach to it all.
Going Clear is divided into three specific acts: the first concerns high-profile celebrities who were once a member of the Church of Scientology before leaving, such as Spanky Taylor, Paul Haggis (director of 2004’s Crash), and Jason Beghe, the second concerns L. Ron Hubbard’s life and how the publication of his bestselling book Dianetics led to the creation of Scientology, and the third act shows the church’s notorious allegations for abuse, harassment, and misconduct, most of which perpetuated by its current Chairman David Miscavige.
This structure, and Gibney’s liberal two hour runtime, allow for the church to be explored not only in a sense that adheres to and respects chronology, but allows for surmounting tension to build from a pacing standpoint. By the time the hour mark rolled around, I was completely immersed in this story, going from knowing relatively nothing about the church, remaining blissfully ignorant, to becoming hungry for more information. A great deal of this lies on Gibney’s structure and depth of research, all of which churns up confirmation through news articles, fact checks, and testimonies from primary sources, but another portion is thanks to his presentation, which is reliant on suspense and gradual tension in a way that makes the documentary interesting rather than manipulative.
The interviews with former church members also do an exceptional job at detailing the church’s different levels of involvement in Scientology, as well as their methods, demystifying what we’ve heard in the past and cutting through lingo to give us digestible information. For example, we learn that Scientology is rooted in condemnation of war, insanity, and criminality, imagining a world where everyone is a like-minded, mentally capable individual that can’t be compelled to carry out such senseless violence. There are people known as auditors, who help people allegedly detect the mass of their own thoughts (something science has yet to prove) and have them discharge their emotions to make them in a complex state of human realization. Auditors use devices known as “E-meters” to help achieve such grandiose ideas, working with a machine that’s part lie detector in the way a small needle glides through a scale of numbers, again, allegedly detecting brain activity and thought mass.
The more Gibney paints Scientology, and the more ex-church executives, members, and officials discuss it, it all seems as if Scientology is unproven “pseudo-science” that operates with cult-like devotion in the way it sucks people, particularly the lost and the wayward, in young, works to make them see that they have a purpose, and fighting to keep them loyal to the church at every cost if they dare try and leave. Other interesting elements of the film come in the detailing of Hubbard’s life, as we hear from accounts of his wife that he was emotionally abusive towards her, as well as money-hungry, essentially creating a religion to gain an income and not be burdened by governmental tactics. These documented pieces of fact are enough to turn any potential Scientologist away from the church and never look back.
But why, Gibney asks, do celebrities like John Travolta and Tom Cruise, as well as hundreds of thousands of other individuals willingly flock to read Hubbard’s teachings and hear Miscavige’s fiery sermons if all these ideas circumvent into unsubstantiated assertions and the religion’s creator has enough dirt on him to be labeled a phony? Again, it all comes back to the idea of man seeking a purpose in his life, which Gibney bravely articulates. We hear people like Beghe, Taylor, and Haggis talk about how all they wanted when they were young was a sense of life that the world had yet to provide them, and took pride in Scientology’s teachings of such complex, human ideas that were foreign to them. It wasn’t until they witnessed numerous acts of abuse and cruel manipulation for themselves that they made the decision to leave the church, many of them still being harassed by Miscavige’s watchdogs to this very day.
The final main idea of Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief I have yet to present is the one proposed from its title. The concept of “going clear” in Scientology refers to the alleged erasing of one’s conscious, which, in a Freudian context, where Scientology seems to get a lot of its ideas, means erasing all traumatic events, suppressed memories, and crippling thoughts from one’s head. This state of “clearness” allows for a person to function unburdened by past experiences and look forward positively in a new way unheard of prior to being introduced to concepts of Scientology. If this was the weirdest idea spoken about in Going Clear, it would still be a documentary well worth seeing, but the fact that it digs well beyond the surface and explores the subject with an unforeseen level of depth makes it a truly fantastic piece of documentary filmmaking from one of the finest living documentarians today.
Bold and a Must See
HBO Documentaries are coming out of the gate swinging in 2015 and this one is no different. Doing a documentary on Scientology by just letting people who were a part of this, talk and present clippings and facts and even make clarifications of claims, for the viewer to draw their own conclusions — well, this documentary hits it out of the ballpark. And I can personally attest that there are “two” different Scientologists. I had two different experiences with Scientology, three years apart.
The first scared me half to death, when the church was on Hollywood Blvd. One of their people came up to me as I was checking out the stars on Hollywood Blvd. and asked me to take a “Personality Test”. I thought it must’ve been a touristy thing and so I did. I thought knowing this would also be good for jobs (little did I know it was NOT that kind of personality test!) I scored very high and this blonde haired guy came out and said I “needed” to be a member. He was in my face telling me I had to pay $300 immediately. I said I didn’t have that on my, that I had to go get on the bus to go to the bank and get it. I was so scared of the place and him I just wanted to get out. He said he’d get on the bus with me, go to the bank with me and stay with me till I got the $300. He said he had to because as soon as I would pay it, my life would be so much better within the Church and it would help me let ‘everything go’ and reach the highest level. I convinced him that I had several stops and I would be back. He finally let me out, watched me get on the bus on Hollywood Blvd. I NEVER went back, I was shaking on the bus – I really thought I was going to get violated and end up on the 6 o’clock news. I was so scared of those folks.
The second time was VERY different. It was sorta a trick. A friend invited me to the “Celebrity Center” in “Hollywood Hills” for a theatrical play. I thought what the heck. When I got there, it was the Church of Scientology! I was ready to run until I met so many celebrities and musicians that evening who seemed…sane. A million times different than the guy on Hollywood Blvd. I actually told them about that. They apologized. They gave me a free book, Dianetics, asked me to read it and if I was interested, come back and they’d talk to me further- and was sure I’d be an asset (not member) of the church. I never came back, never read or kept the book, but I couldn’t believe how different this was.
One person, two different introductions, two ‘different’ Scientologies in Hollywood. My thoughts of the Church of Scientology was duel. This is what these folks believed and obviously many are treated differently than others. The documentary really goes deeper into this than even I thought I was was certain about. Never did I get that “church” feeling about the place, or “religion” and the documentary shows me, and the viewers, why. It’s “money” for the top, drones for the bottom, brainwash as much and as deep for those with a lot to give to…them. Lot’s of figurative “Kool-Aid” drinkers, and some who were so devoted that if offered, they’d blindly follow. Which makes Scientology more cult-like than anything else. And yes, this documentary answers many of questions about that too.
Whatever one thinks, this is a compelling documentary for those who know, those who don’t, and those who are still trying to figure out what this is. After this documentary, you’ll know.
Original Language en
Runtime 1 hr 59 min (119 min)
Rated Not Rated
Director Alex Gibney
Writer Alex Gibney, Lawrence Wright
Actors Paul Haggis, Jason Beghe, Spanky Taylor
Country United States
Awards Won 3 Primetime Emmys. 7 wins & 32 nominations total
Production Company N/A
Sound Mix N/A
Aspect Ratio 1.78 : 1
Film Length N/A
Negative Format N/A
Cinematographic Process HD
Printed Film Format DCP