Robert Kenner’s “Merchants Of Doubt” would be a fine comedy if it weren’t a documentary about the dark American art of selling self-delusion, largely in the service of climate change denial. The figures the Oscar-nominated director of “Food, Inc.” gets onto the screen are gleeful in their corruption-for-profit rhetoric, and it’s an itchy ride. Even spin gets spun. Based on a book by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, “Merchants” dissects how the tobacco industry mastered the game of spreading doubt in public discourse. If two experts disagree, who do you trust? Bingo: spread doubt. Slick, stylish and deeply infuriating, “Merchants of Doubt” is splendid muckraking. 96m. (Ray Pride)
“Merchants Of Doubt” opens Friday, March 13.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.