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Incomparable British broadcaster Louis Theroux is hilariously provocative in his first feature documentary, “Louis Theroux: My Scientology Movie”, created in collaboration with director John Dower and two-time Academy Award® winning producer Simon Chinn. Following a long fascination with the religion, and with a lot of experience dealing with eccentric human behaviour, Theroux won’t take no for an answer when his request to enter the Church of Scientology’s Los Angeles headquarters is turned down…
Theroux’s insatiable curiosity motivates him to understand what life inside the Church is really like, and with the aid of former second-in-command at the Church, Mark Rathbun, he uses actors to replay incidents people claim they experienced with high profile members such as Tom Cruise and leader David Miscavige. Complications come to the fore when the Church puts Theroux and his crew under surveillance, and when Theroux begins to question Rathbun’s own role in some of the Church’s more controversial activities.
The resulting film is an intriguing mixture of investigative journalism, showmanship and humor. In interviews, Theroux mentioned that his inspiration for using re-enactments to tell the story came from Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing, which used also used re-enactments to explore each party’s version of events.
Theroux also shows the Church of Scientology’s escalating attempts to stop him from making the film – a difficulty many other journalists and filmmakers have had to contend with. Theroux is followed, warned off social media, and threatened with lawyers and police. But Theroux, who had been trying to do an investigation on scientology since 2003, was undeterred.
For all lovers of Theroux’s unique brand of journalism, “My Scientology Movie” is a must-see.
Love this movie? Check out “Alex Gibney’s Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief”.