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Review: ‘The Best Democracy Money Can Buy’ documentary pursues the Koch brothers

Buried somewhere amid the old-school journalist shtick, aggressive animation and overbearing jazz score in “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy,” there’s a solid documentary connecting the billionaire Koch brothers’ cash to efforts to disenfranchise voters of color. But many viewers will find it challenging to see the substance hidden in the documentary’s over-the-top style that makes Michael Moore’s directorial stamp look subtle.

Fedora-and-suit-clad investigative reporter Greg Palast and his fellow director David Ambrose begin their story with the 2000 U.S. presidential election and work toward the 2016 race. Palast interviews African American voters who have been blocked from the polls, either by being stricken from the registry or made to wait for hours to cast their ballots, and effectively exposes the ways the Interstate Crosscheck system fails to stop voter fraud and instead blocks valid voters from casting ballots.

Palast and Ambrose enlist celebrities Rosario Dawson, Willie Nelson, Ice-T, Richard Belzer and Shailene Woodley, but like the rest of the documentary’s clanging bells and tooting whistles, they vary in effectiveness, often distracting from the otherwise cogent argument.

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‘The Best Democracy Money Can Buy”

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 54 minutes

Playing: Laemmle NoHo, North Hollywood

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