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Considering the legal problems that beset the making and release of this documentary, the latest release by the prolific Alex Gibney - director of
The Armstrong Lie
We Steal Secrets: the Story of WikiLeaks
- is surprisingly thin on revelations. Though it also acts as a primer on the life and work of writer L Ron Hubbard, whose 1950 self-help book
is the foundation stone of the controversial Scientology movement,
mostly charts the course of this contentious - and, in the US, tax-exempt - "religion" since Hubbard's death in 1986. Much is made of the support given to Scientology by the likes of Tom Cruise and John Travolta, but Hollywood gossip is in scant supply. Instead, this cautious exposé morphs into a list of grievances from former, quite senior, disgruntled employees. Their claims are serious and damaging but don't add much to a documentary that simply draws a picture of an organisation that is wealthy, secretive and controlling, a narrative that has been dominant for years.
Alex Gibney's documentary, based on Lawrence Wright's book, sheds light on the controversial religious movement, from its roots in the mind of founder L Ron Hubbard through to its rise in popularity in Hollywood and beyond. The film also profiles eight former members of the Church of Scientology, including Oscar-winning screenwriter and director Paul Haggis, who offer their perspective on the actions of the organisation's leaders past and present.
Cast & Crew
26 Jun 2015
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