Going Clear Review: HBO's Scientology Shocks, Startles And Enthralls

March 29, 2015 10:26 PM

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“We’re going to find an incident in your life you have an exact record of. Then, by sending you through it at the time it happened, we’re going to reduce it. We will reduce the pain. Go to the beginning of that incident. Tell me what’s happening.” These words, spoken by a faceless voice and layered over images of an E-meter, begin Alex Gibney’s Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, the most controversial documentary in recent memory. The “incident” is Scientology. The “pain” is what happened to those who endured the tyrannical iron fist of those leading the blind and hopeful flock. And by taking his interview subjects through these incidents, Gibney hopes to reduce the pain of their past.

Going Clear is based on a book by Lawrence Wright of a similar name. As one of the interview subjects of the doc, Wright said in the film, “My goal wasn’t to write an expose. It was simply to understand Scientology, trying to understand what people get out of it.” The aim of Going Clear, however, is...

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