A WSJ review of the documentary begins:
Watching “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” can be a depressing experience, and not just for the two hours in which the HBO documentary runs. The haunting archival imagery—a powerful element here—fades after a few days, and much of what is said has been said before. Yet whether you come away seeing Scientology as a cult that ensnares vulnerable people or as a faith of self-empowerment, the film leaves a terrible taste of too much information. This must be its point, but take heed just the same.
The film is based on Lawrence Wright’s 2013 book “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief.”
I haven’t read that book (yet), but I have read Wright’s long, detailed, fascinating 2011 New Yorker story “The Apostate.”
It centers on longtime Hollywood screenwriter Paul Haggis, who left Scientology and has since become an outspoken critic of the church. It’s an excellent piece of journalism.