The name Amanda Knox is synonymous throughout the world with murder. In 2007 Knox, a twenty year old American studying abroad in Italy was thrust onto the national spotlight after being arrested for the brutal murder of her roommate Meredith Kercher. Nine years later, Netflix has released a riveting and highly stylized documentary on the murder, arrests, and trials of Knox, her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, and the convicted killer Rudy Guede.
The films starts by evaluating Knox’s character with personal interviews, showing her as somewhat naive and excited to go abroad. Also interviewed are, Sollecito, Italian prosecutor Giuliano Mignini, and Nick Pisa, the DailyMail journalist whose yellow journalism helped to bring the international spotlight on Knox. With the inclusion of Pisa the filmmakers try to raise the question, was Knox’s trial by media or evidence?
The film delves into the media circus surrounding the murder and trial as well as the character accusations against Knox whose “quirky” personality are quickly be manipulated by the media and prosecution into something more sinister. The film’s story is a bit scattered sometimes jumping between interviews, stylized reenactments and archival footage as if the filmmakers struggled with what elements to highlight. The core of the film is the exclusive access and interviews with Knox who is presented in a raw unbiased factor, leaving the viewer to be the ultimate judge of her guilt.
The other interviewees also become quickly characterized, Sollectio – the quiet romantic, Pisa – the ruthless journalist, and Mignini – the morally righteous (and heavily religious) prosecutor. The focus on Mignini’s religiousness is interesting as it contrasts against the heavy use of science and logic involved in law trials. Even with Knox’s and Sollectio’s convictions overturned Mignini believes that they will have to answer to the higher power as “god will judge them” for their actions.
Some of the subtle highlights of the film include the pulsating soundtrack and beautiful arial shots of the Italian countryside and Perugia. Which juxtaposed against the grainy police footage of the murder scene made the crime even more horrific in appearance and action.
The film ends with Knox and Sollectio being exonerated by the highest court in Italy. Guede – who was convicted of murder in 2007 – remains an afterthought in the whole media circus while Knox’s party believe he was the sole killer. While, innocent in the eyes of the law, it is Knox, and to some extent Sollectio, who will never be able to escape the judgement of the the public and media. Overall, the film gives an detailed and high access look into one of the most covered trials of the 2000’s and shows that sometimes the evidence is not as important as a juicy story.
Amanda Knox is available to stream on Netflix with a subscription