My Scientology Movie

Director: John Dower (2016) BBFC cert: 15

In this vaguely entertaining but aimless documentary, Louis Theroux adds nothing to our understanding of the Church of Scientology. With his tall frame, peculiar air of detachment and his ‘take me to your leader’ approach, he is a strange, almost alien-like creature, and not necessarily out of place in Los Angeles.

In the absence of anyone from the organisation for Theroux to interview, he flies in former scientology Inspector General Mark Rathbun. They enlist actors to recreate the techniques for intimidation and brainwashing Rathbun claims to have employed on new recruits on behalf of the Church.

The organisation is notoriously super secretive, highly sensitive and quickly aggressive when it feels threatened. Soon the filmmaker is under siege from other camera crews claiming to be making a documentary about him. As multiple cameras and smartphones are brandished, these sidewalk stand-offs offer fleeting moments of humour.

With no-one else to question, Theroux desperately and disgracefully attempts to turn the screw on his ally, Mark.




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