If you are anything like me, then you will love nothing more than a gripping documentary that forces you to look at the world in a whole new light.
Every now and then, a documentary lands which has the power to shock you to the core while keeping your eyes glued to the screen.
Netflix’s new Wild Wild Country is one such documentary series; causing tremors of excitement among critics and casual viewers alike.
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And with a 100 per cent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s clear this dark crime series is a cut above it’s contemporaries.
This is admittedly anything but a light-hearted watch, so perhaps stick to a rom com if you aren’t yet sure about your new girlfriend’s thoughts on sex cults and bioterrorism.
However, on the other hand, this one is certainly an icebreaker if ever there was one.
A profound untangling of a bafflingly forgotten piece of recent human history which should keep you debating long into the night.
Excellent cult doc on Netflix called “wild wild country” if you are into cult docs (I am into cult docs)
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) March 18, 2018
Produced by Mark and Jay Duplass (Room 104), the series follows guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh – aka Osho – and his devotees, who fled India in 1981 after controversy over the cult’s ‘sexual rituals’.
The ‘Rajneeshees’ attempted to build a new paradise on a 64,000 acre ranch in the deserts of Oregon; preaching free love in between meditation sessions.
The randy group viewed having copious amounts of sex to be a means of spiritual freedom; viewing the repression of sexual appetites to be dangerous.
The cult in #WildWildCountry look like their militia was styled by Wes Anderson.
— Francine Toon (@FrancineElena) March 18, 2018
Despite the focus on enlightenment and spirituality, Rajneesh lived a lavish lifestyle; complete with a fleet of 93 Rolls-Royces.
It is estimated his disciples kept his bank account furnished with around a decidedly unhippy-ish $100 million.
And this ranch was no simplistic Utopia. Rows of homes lined the plot, along with a huge assembly hall, a pizza place and a dam. There was even a private airstrip.
— rebecca's complete lack of surprise (@R_CartR) March 17, 2018
The cult’s new neighbours – a slightly more traditional retirement community – were none too keen on the lusty antics going on at the ranch.
In the six-part series, some of the mortified locals recalled unusual ‘noises’ coming from the commune.
The striking lifestyle divide would ultimately escalate to terrifying extremes, especially when Rajneesh’s ambitions to create an entire city became evident.
People are quickly discovering the insane true story of WILD WILD COUNTRY on @netflix and they are starting to talk about it. Do yourself a favor. Don't google this one. Grab a seat and watch it all before the spoilers come out. Have fun! #WildWildCountry pic.twitter.com/gCoDuyy2r8
— Mark Duplass (@MarkDuplass) March 17, 2018
Viewers are already raving about the doc over social media, with many people divided about the events which led to Rajneesh’s arrest and deportation.
This is a series which gives no easy answers, leaving viewers free to consider our perceptions on morality and evil.
One newly initiated fan gasped:
My god! Wild Wild Country on Netflix is one of the best documentaries I’ve ever seen.
It is an amazing story about a religious group (labeled a Cult) moving from India to a small town in USA thinking that the constitution would protect their rights.
Boy were they wrong!
Another person mused:
Wild Wild Country is amazing, lives up to the hype. Makes you empathize with both sides, sometimes simultaneously.
My god! #WildWildCountry on @netflix is one of the best documentaries I've ever seen. It is an amazing story about a religious group (labeled a Cult) moving from India to a small town in USA thinking that the constitution would protect their rights. Boy were they wrong! #Riveting
— James McDougall (@ActorJamesMcD) March 19, 2018
#WildWildCountry is amazing, lives up to the hype. Makes you empathize with both sides, sometimes simultaneously.
— Jonathon Norcross (@JonNorcross) March 17, 2018
I'm only 12 minutes into #WildWildCountry and I've already said 'holy shit' twice
— Meg Moo (@CuriousClock) March 17, 2018
Writing for Roger Ebert, critic Nick Allen praised the series for it’s exploration of numerous weighty issues:
The size of ‘Wild Wild Country’ especially pays off as the film explores so many huge and various issues: old vs. young; believers vs. nonbelievers; conservatism vs. free love; fear vs. compassion; the honest potential for perfection when humans are themselves imperfect.
These all become more fascinating given the story’s complications between who is right and who is wrong in this story. The Ways never take a stance or simplify the issues.
I wonder if the Rajneesh documentary on Netflix will finally make people stop sharing "inspirational quotes" from cult leader Osho on social media #WildWildCountry
— Joanna (@napkinpoem) March 16, 2018
Right, it looks like my weekend is sorted. Apologies to my friends and family in advance.
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.