The Profit is a film shot by Scientology critics with Bob Minton's money. As is to be expected, the film is full of crude anti-cult clichés and misses an opportunity to dig into the nature of the cultic mindset by reducing this complex phenomenon to mere hypnosis drama. Apart from being an illustration of the intellectual paucity of critics in general, the dishonest way they dealt with Minton's money was central to what later led to a major split in the critical movement. Below is one of the very few reviews the film received.
Breaking News : On March 22, 2008, the movie was leaked on the Internet. You can now see it on Lronsucks Youtube webpage or "live" on XenuTV (March 25 update: no more. The movie was taken down because of a DMCA notice sent by Peter Alexander) with real time comments (for the most part made by critics to make sure you believe everything in it is "true"). . It is so bad someone even wondered if the leak could have been made by the Church of Scientology itself to discredit the critics by releasing such a shocker.
At the beginning I found it funny because it was just too gross, but in the long run its gets weary because it is just too evil, too dark. Elron main motivation is money, they recruit Tom Cruise through blackmail, etc, etc... (names are changed).
Here is a fitting summary as found on the net:
Below is the St. Petersburg Times critique that appeared back in 2001 and which constituted this web page for the last seven years. Having now seen the film, it fits to a T, with quotes such:
St. Petersburg Times,
No love lost
The Profit (Not rated, probably R) (128 min.) -- The long, contentious history of the Church of Scientology will make a fascinating documentary someday. Until then, we have Peter D. Alexander's stilted movie he inscrutably claims isn't based on the life of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.
But anyone with the most casual knowledge of the church's history will find the parallels obvious.
Alexander's film centers on fictional con artist L. Conrad Powers (Eric Rath), leader of the Church of Scientific Spiritualism with beliefs steeped in Powers' science fiction novels. Members wearing military-style uniforms do Powers' bidding, using "Mind Meters" to read personalities and monitor behavior. The IRS and FBI hound him, a Tom Cruise-style celebrity supports him and Powers becomes a reclusive demagogue.
Alexander was a Scientologist for 20 years until he left the church, obviously carrying some hard feelings with him. His odd disclaimer notwithstanding, The Profit is Alexander's rant against Hubbard's practices that might be more effective if not couched in cliches unbecoming such fertile material. Cultists may be capable of the acts The Profit describes, but this story comes across as farfetched rather than convincing.
Part of the fault lies in Rath's over-the-top performance, making Powers a medicine show barker who would be twirling a mustache if he had one. Alexander frames him as someone not to be taken seriously with winking musical choices and hokey hypnotism explaining how Powers gets inside unsuspecting minds. Everyone succumbs, but the dynamics behind such conversions aren't fully explored. Alexander is mad as hell and he's not going to tell us any more.
The Profit was filmed around Tampa Bay last year in pulpish colors by Mark Woods with admirable costumes and designs for Citizen Kane-style flashbacks to a half-century ago. Rath's supporting cast performs with that extra bit of eagerness that flattens characters by exposing the acting tricks behind them.
Alexander's movie preaches to the choir of Scientology critics. The rest of us who haven't made up our minds get some National Enquirer-style entertainment (sexual dysfunction! devil worship!) and not much to consider after the show.
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