Blog: Going Clear: The Prison Of Belief - 2015-01-26
I am late to the party with my thoughts about Alex Gibney's Going Clear The Prison Of Belief, not being as diligent as Tony Ortega, who despite NOT being a "former Scientologist" nevertheless has the work ethic of a dedicated Sea Org member.
There are numerous media accounts of the film and the premiere and I will not try and recount everything, because I don't want to spend hours rehashing what has already been said by others. And frankly, nobody else's take on the movie is going to have the same meaning to you as you will get when you have the opportunity to see it. Which is itself high praise, as this movie is layered and while it packs the punch of a sledgehammer, it is also extremely subtle and a lot of things contained within it will strike chords, but probably no two the same. I can tell you that Marc Headley was not the only one who cried during the movie. I think ANYONE who has been in or effected by the church is going to have some moist-eyed moments.
I told Alex after watching it that I felt he had done the subject great justice, that if I had started with a clean slate I could not have come close to achieving what he had done. And that I appreciated the fact that he made each person who is featured in the film empathetic. Of course, there are plenty of things in there that are embarrassing to me to see in hindsight, including my participation in We Stand Tall (anyone who knows me knows I can neither sing nor dance — and I no longer wear ugly sweaters). But it is so easy to simply leave the viewer with the impression that former scientologists are "kooks" or "dupes" or "bitter haters." It's been done plenty of times in the past, along with the easy sensationalist grabs of celebrities or Xenu. Alex and Larry took the time and made the effort to explain WHY someone would get involved in scientology and what it offers and how things turn sour. So viewers can identify "oh, I can see how that could have been me" rather than "I would never fall for that shit." The proof of that is the standing ovation from the crowd when Alex asked those featured in the movie to join him at the front of the theater after the movie ended. And the dozens of people who walked up to me and others afterwards to thank us for our participation.