BEST OF THE FEST!
If you feel like the topic of Scientology has been done to death then there is a surprise in store. Louis Theroux, the engaging and cheeky British broadcaster and doc filmmaker (whose style is arguably only a little less contrived then that of Borat) brings an unexpectedly playful approach to the topic.
Best known for his sideways looks at his subjects (Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends, When Louis Met…), Theroux, basing himself in LA, puts out a casting call for people to play Scientology followers, including head David Miscavige and Tom Cruise. The intent is to replicate on film, with the help of former church disciplinarian Marty Rathburn, alleged practices never witnessed by outsiders.
Once the bait is set, of course, the super-paranoid Church of Scientology is soon on Theroux’s tail, trailing his car, making implicit threats, and openly filming his crew.
The film’s masterstroke, however, is Theroux’s undermining of Rathburn by reminding him that he was the one who originally invented these abusive practices. The director presents us with the insight that Rathburn is in effect an abused man who became a willing abuser, and is now struggling to reconcile the two. And for this, My Scientology Movie belongs in the company of the most serious work done on the church.