Amanda Knox (2016) Review


Verdict: Unnerving

Great editing, footage, and directing.

Review

In this Netflix documentary, the details for the gruesome murder of Meredith Kercher, who was on exchange in Italy, is laid out before us. While not so much an investigation of who killed Kercher, the film depicts how the media and the police in Perugia, are more interested in convicting Knox and her then boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito. We are given insight into the case from those on the front lines; Giuliano Mignini, lead prosecutor on the case, and Nick Pisa, freelance journalist for the Daily Mail. Not much is given about the background of the murder victim, but as this film is titled ‘Amanda Knox’, the focus is on her. Directed by Rod Blackhurst and Brian McGinn.

Having vaguely heard of Amanda Knox before, I was unaware of the full story. For the most part, I feel that Netflix did a good job at displaying all the cards at hand. They built up the character of Knox, giving us a vague sense of who she was, and how she got to be in Italy.

The interviews with Knox, Sollecito, Pisa, and Mignini along with some other experts, provide some great perspectives to the case. As the audience, this documentary provides a convenient place to hear from all parties involved. However, with any documentary, there is the potential for biases to be involved.

I am unsure of how much of the interviews were scripted, or what the opinions of the filmmakers themselves are. While the filmmakers did their best to not overtly state whether Knox was innocent or guilty, there is some hint that they believe her to be innocent. However, I do appreciate that they seem to have given an objective view of the case, and provided a lot of details from multiple sources. So much so, that I do not know who is truly guilty.

Much of the fault is shown to be the incompetence of the police investigators, who would rather create a buzz about a young American woman who is sex-crazed, than follow where the evidence leads. As well, certain statements and actions of lead players who affected the outcome of the case are greatly concerning to learn about. From the testing of poignant DNA not being considered important, to the contamination of test results, and the falsification of facts to the media, this film shows how much of an influence the media can be, emphasizing that one can never truly believe the news.

What made this a great documentary, was the archived footage that they managed to get a hold of. Of the case, the murder scene, the news at the time, and of the suspects. They juxtaposed this with interviews and recordings of conversations that definitely makes me question how they got their hands on it. For example, recordings of Knox’s phone call to her friend weeks after the murder, or a conversation between Knox and her mother while she was in jail. These added bits of credibility to the documentary, and the way the film was edited helped it to flow smoothly in suspense.

While watching this definitely fills me with more questions than answers, as a documentary, it does its job. A great watch to learn about details of the case, and to understand how the system in Italy works. The only thing I would have liked to see would have been interviews with Kercher’s family. There is a short news clip of the mother speaking, but a more in depth interview of why the Kerchers believe Knox to be guilty would have been a great addition. Though I do understand that the family perhaps did not want to be included in the film. As well, interviews with Knox’s acquaintances would have painted a better picture of the kind of person Knox is. Perhaps filmmakers didn’t do this because they are focusing on the facts of the case, and not on trying to prove Knox’s innocence. Regardless, I am not 100% certain that she was not involved, but this film provided a great introduction to the case.

To sum-up:
PROS: Editing, footage, details given
CONS: No response from Kercher’s family, some biases

I give this an 8/10.

Have you seen Amanda Knox? Rate it out of 5 stars above or leave a comment below!

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