Our own Mike Ryan reviewed Alex Gibney’s Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, which debuted at Sundance over the weekend. Ryan called it an “absolute and utterly devastating takedown of Scientology” that takes aim at David Miscavige, the current face of the “evil and vindictive” organization. It also deals extensively with the two most famous members of the religion, John Travolta and Tom Cruise.
According to The Daily Beast, the documentary explores how Miscavige essentially used intimidation to break up Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise, the latter of whom had grown somewhat distant from the organization during the marriage.
Details of those intimidation tactics came from Marty Rathbun, formerly the second highest-ranking member of the Scientology church. According to him, Miscavige was suspicious of Kidman from the beginning because her father was an Australian psychologist, which made Kidman a “potential trouble source” for the church.
Allegedly, Cruise stopped returning Miscavige’s calls, and in his anger, Miscavige recruited Rathbun to facilitate the breakup of Cruise and Kidman.
From The Daily Beast:
Rathbun alleges in the film that the Church of Scientology then waged an aggressive campaign to get Cruise to dump Kidman, including having a private investigator wiretap her phone—at Cruise’s apparent suggestion, according to Rathbun—and sending the tapes to Miscavige. The Church of Scientology also began “auditing” Cruise around the clock, according to the film, aggressively psychoanalyzing him and gathering personal information. The information was then allegedly sent to Miscavige, whom Rathbun claims blasted Cruise for his “perverted” sexual fetishes.
Furthermore, Rathbun says the Church of Scientology “re-educated” Cruise’s adopted children with Kidman, Connor and Isabella, into turning against their mother so that Cruise could retain custody.
Perverted sexual fetishes? I wonder if, among those fetishes, Miscavige included the meadow that the Church of Scientology designed for Cruise and Kidman to run through, which had been a fantasy of Cruise’s.
What’s most interesting to me about Cruise is that — if you ever listened to his lengthy interview with the Nerdist — he’s the most profoundly boring man in Hollywood. He makes great movie choices and he’s one of the most determined actors in the business, but he completely lacks a personality. Scientology is often the only thing that makes Cruise interesting, and I wonder if Cruise is a guy who is just completely malleable, easily influenced, and very prone to suggestion.
This is total speculation here, but maybe he allows Scientology to dictate his life choices because he just doesn’t know any better. There are times when I actually feel bad for Cruise; I get the sense from interviews with him that he actually has been “programmed” by the Church. I hope that one day the light finally comes on and he realizes how the Church of Scientology is (allegedly) manipulating him, and he finally gets the hell out. As Mike Ryan says in his review, the church is “running low on members” these days: Maybe it’s only a matter of time before it collapses on itself.