Don't expect a documentary run-down on brothers Charles and David, industrial headmasters for conservative causes. "Citizen Koch" instead draws a direct line from Citizens United vs. FEC, the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court case that unleashed unlimited corporate money into the nations election cycles and, in turn, helped fund Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's successful bid to weaken the power of public employee unions.
Directors Tia Lessin and Carl Deal, the team behind the Oscar-nominated doc "Trouble the Water," fill their enterprise to bursting with policy experts, rally footage from both sides of the battle and, best of all, moderate Wisconsin Republicans shocked at whose seized control of their party by sheer force of wallet.
Former Louisiana Gov. and Congressman Charles "Buddy" Roemer makes for the most compelling character, as the happy warrior whose 2012 run for president is all but doomed for his principled refusal of PAC and other big money donors.
As vital as the film is for anyone who cares about a level playing field in U.S. democracy, it's relentless tone of warning becomes more fatiguing than energizing. It's no secret that those who have the gold make the rules. What a film this stripe of advocacy needs is a coda showing the best way forward to diminish the burden of its enlightened and well-intentioned pessimism.
"Citizen Koch screens: Tuesday, Jan. 22, 11: 30 a.m., Egyptian Theatre, Park City; Thursday, Jan. 24, 8:30 p.m., The MARC, Park City; Friday, Jan 25, 12:30 p.m., Redstone Cinema 1, Park City; and Saturday, Jan. 26, 3 p.m., Tower Theatre, Salt Lake City