I’ve maintained a wary interest in the Church of Scientology since reading L. Ron Hubbard: Messiah or Madman? (co-written by Hubbard’s estranged son Ronald DeWolf, and ,sadly, now out of print) as a teenager. I’m not a huge fan of Paul Thomas Anderson’s work, but I’m still thinking about seeing his new film The Master, a movie about a man who falls under the sway of a Hubbard-like cult leader.
WIRED’s Hugh Hart has reviewed the film, praising it as an elegant dissection of “cult psychosis”:
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The Master casts its own weird, R-rated spell not because it yields shocking revelations or clever plot twists. We never learn why Freddie’s such a high-strung mess, though his World War II combat experience would seem a likely source of trauma. Nor do we find out where Dodd — a character inspired by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard — comes from or how he acquired his gift for wrapping people around his stubby fingers.