There’s a new twenty-first century genre of documentary, the Scientology Expose. From the explosive revelations of “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” and “Scientology: Inside the Cult” to more personal films like “Scientology and Me,” the church that L. Ron Hubbard built has been placed under the glare of the documentary camera like never before. With so many hours of investigation already committed to film, the obvious question is Does “My Scientology Movie” reveal anything we don’t already know?
The answer is no it doesn’t but it at last rehashes the old information in an entertaining way.
Directed by John Dower, and written by and starring Louis Theroux—imagine a glibber and taller John Oliver—uses a variety of devices to tell the tale of Marty Rathbun, a former high-ranking Scientology official, and the church itself. A mix-and-match of reality TV style footage and ambush journalism with talking head footage and recreations with actors hired to play church head honchos, it paints a picture of religious fundamentalism that not only bends the rules of acceptable behaviour but shatters them all in the name of loyalty not to the church but to its head David Miscavige.
It’s not a pretty picture but it’s also not a new picture. All of these docs feature a disenfranchised member of the church and denials from Scientology brass but Dower and Theroux up the ante by including a Tom Cruise impersonator. Irritable and unpredictable, Rathbun, a man who calls Scientology the most, “pernicious, dangerous cult the western world has known in the past 50 years,” spices things up but in the end, with no major revelations “My Scientology Movie” is little more than a greatest hits of facts and innuendo.