My Scientology Movie burst to life on screen with reams of flashy Scientology propaganda and enough booming bass and flaming righteousness to make even Christopher Nolan’s eyes water. It felt like being blasted in the face with a hairdryer, forced back into my seat with the sheer gold-plated G-Force that comes from Scientology’s own studio in California.
Since journalists are 1.1 on the ‘tone scale’, ranked in Scientology terms on the same level as ‘sexual deviants and perverts’, Louis certainly struggled to get this film made, and you can tell. At one point, during a car drive with the infamous Marty Rathbun, the ominous presence of a white Jeep in the rear window even caused the usually ice-cool Theroux to cast an anxious glance backwards. John Dower revealed in the Q&A screening that the crew’s fear of being hounded by the church during filming led them to copy the film rushes at the end of every day and hide them under mattresses. This paranoia seemed to increase throughout the film, culminating in a dramatic falling-out between Louis and ex-Inspector General for the church, Marty Rathbun. His mere presence in the film caused controversy, since as one ex-scientologist put it, ‘Marty knows he has a lot of blood on his hands’.
In terms of the film itself, Louis returns back to his cheery Weird Weekends persona that we all know and love. One particularly fantastic scene involved him remarking that the security flood lights around a Scientology compound helped him see better, whilst ignoring the sirens and sounds of dogs barking. I don’t want to spoil the film for you, but I will say that it is truly a fantastic watch. Go and see it, and remember, it IS a public road.