Limited screenings of ‘Louis Theroux’s: My Scientology Movie’ hit the New Farm Cinemas this week, delivering truth, entertainment and humour about the secret world of Scientology.
The feature doco delves into the strange practices and seductive power behind celebrity religion.
The documentary takes an unconventional approach where ambitious yet-to-be Hollywood actors are cast to embody Scientology leader, David Miscavige and the Church’s famous apostle, the couch-jumping Tom Cruise.
At first, this makes for an awkward, cringe-worthy performance. Very awkward. You wonder why Theroux would put you through such torture as he asks actors to mimic historically based scenes.
But there is always a method to his madness. These scenes are directed by former high-ranking church official Marty Rathburn which allow you to relive some of the many elusive and revealing aspects of the Church’s rituals.
His fantastic yet strange method produces scenes that suck you in, only to spit you out, leaving you in disbelief and questioning what you may have just nearly believed.
To avoid giving too much away, the story and actors progress throughout the film to eventually deliver a powerful, deeply engrossing and shattering scene that gives you a real a-ha moment.
The doco does not endeavour to fully understand the theology of Scientology, but it does examine the powerful personalities and culture of this secretive institution.
Staying true to classic Theroux’ style, you will laugh, you will cringe, but you will also peek inside this eerie, enigmatic world.
Louis’ classic awkward silences lead interviewees succumbing to a verbal vomiting spiel of raw emotion and truth.
His polite yet probing and persistent journalistic enquiries reveal insights about the life blood that makes this organisation beat deep within and the veins through which the spirit of this global religion spreads.
Your understanding of why he calls it My Scientology Movie becomes clear, as his signature dad like presence, and classic Brit persona either remind you of or transform you into a Louis lover.
If you weren’t lucky enough to score tickets to his live-onstage appearance at QPAC, be sure to see this film when full screenings hit September 30.
Words by Rubini Gunaratnam
Details: Louis Theroux: My Scientology Movie | September 30