Doc explores how billionaire bros have manipulated people’s lives.
CITIZEN KOCH (Carl Deal, Tia Lessin). 90 minutes. Opens Friday (July 25). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNN
Citizen Koch is a bit of a bait-and-switch, really.
Carl Deal and Tia Lessin's follow-up to the stunning Katrina documentary Trouble The Water sets itself up as an exposé of Charles and David Koch, the reclusive right-wing billionaires who've bankrolled aggressive attacks on progressive American politics through astroturf organizations like Americans For Prosperity and the Tea Party.
But there's not a lot of footage of the Kochs, so Deal and Lessin quickly shift their focus to the results of the brothers' influence.
There's the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, which allows corporations unlimited spending in political campaigns, and the 2012 recall battle in Wisconsin over union-busting Republican governor Scott Walker. The doomed presidential candidacy of progressive Republican Buddy Roemer is also brought up as an example of a good idea quashed by the Koch brothers' fear-mongering.
The facts may be familiar to anyone who follows American politics, but Deal and Lessin construct an involving narrative by talking to the citizens whose lives the Kochs are determined to manipulate - working-class people just starting to understand that they're being swayed to vote against their own interests by campaigns built on bullshit and repression.
That's where Citizen Koch finds its real drama.