By Kevin P. Sullivan
Updated March 04, 2015 at 10:41 PM EST

The new documentary from director Robert Kenner (Food, Inc.) is the scrappier, angrier second coming of An Inconvenient Truth. An examination of the lobbyists and the pseudo-experts who corporations keep on their payrolls, Merchants of Doubt pulls back the curtain on why the radical changes everyone expected after the Al Gore film never materialized. Kenner’s thesis is that the school of spin used by oil companies today dates back to the PR playbook created by Big Tobacco, which used misinformation to stall progress. Since the kind of lobbying that Merchants of Doubt targets is so ubiquitous, there are times when it feels as if the film’s selected anecdotes are only scratching the surface of a greater evil, but what does make it to screen is intelligent, vital, and enraging. A–

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