I naturally expected Alex Gibney’s Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief to rip Scientology, founder L. Ron Hubbard, current Scientology honcho David Miscavige, John Travolta and particularly Tom Cruise big-time, but the hard, well-ordered substance of the film knocked me back regardless. The case against Scientology and Miscavige in particular has been on the table for years, but Going Clear still packs a mean punch.
If you’ve done any reading about Scientology over the years Gibney’s film is not exactly a torrent of fresh information, but for those who are relatively uninformed the doc, which will air on HBO, is a seriously brutal indictment. It’s clear and tight and comprehensive as hell about Hubbard’s history, and is quite convincing with three ex-Scientology notables, including Marty Rathbun, formerly the church’s second-highest ranking official before leaving in 2004, spilling the beans big-time.
Rathbun claims that Miscavige, who became freaked about Cruise not being all that reachable during his marriage to Nicole Kidman in the ’90s, ordered henchmen to prod Cruise to split from Kidman on the suspicion that she had persuaded him to keep a distance.
Cruise’s 2005 couch-jump on the Oprah Winfrey talk-show episode triggered a period in which he was regarded as hyper and unhinged, but that impression has faded. Going Clear is liable to reignite it. Cruise comes off as a coddled loon. And Rathbun claims that Miscavige, having read transcripts of several Cruise auditing sessions, strongly criticized the actor for his “perverted” sexual fetishes.