One of the reasons Netflix financed this documentary could be that Amanda Knox narrates in person. However, her presence is far from charismatic as she sits woodenly on a stool, telling us what we already know and peppering her words with badly delivered banalities such as, “Either I’m a psychopath in sheep’s clothing, or I am you.” And as she stares dramatically into the camera, it becomes apparent that, somewhere along the way, Miss Knox has become addicted to fame and this is simply another vehicle to feed her habit.
It’s Italy in 2007. Amanda Knox and her Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, are enjoying a whirlwind romance. She’s sharing an apartment with Meredith Kercher, a Brit and fellow student. Tragically, Meredith is brutally raped and murdered and suspicions fall on Amanda and her boyfriend, solely because the pair are seen giggling and kissing when the police arrive at the grisly scene. Rudy Guede, an Ivory Coast immigrant, is soon convicted of the crime, but the prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, continues to hound Amanda and Raffaele, convinced the pair were there when Meredith met her death. A conviction follows, which later gets over-turned, then reinstated, then over-turned, until finally the highest court in the land exonerates them of all culpability. They are finally free.
This is a human interest story, albeit the most sensational of the decade, but there is little humanity to be found. The decision by the filmmakers to position Amanda a distance from the camera, and keep her there, may possibly have been an attempt to create an air of mystery, but this isn’t what audiences desire. We want up-close and personal and, in this instance, to find out about the relationship the two young beauties had, which will allow us to decide if Amanda did, in fact, have a motive. We also want a blow by blow account of when she discovered the body and precisely what she felt, because that po-face of hers tells us nothing. But most of all, we want to know why she was canoodling with her boyfriend before the victims body was cold, which is a mystery that continues to confound us all.
Raffaele, Amanda’s boyfriend, is as vague as his paramour about this incident and also about everything else. Amanda ended their relationship when they were initially found guilty, but when they are exonerated, she is shown talking to him on the telephone. An explanation of how the pair ended their estrangement is another subject the filmmakers fail to track. Equally enigmatic is Giuliano Migini, the prosecutor, who vigorously pursued the pair and got them imprisoned with nothing more than questionable DNA evidence and a hunch. And finally, we come to the insufferable journalist, Nick Pisa, who pops in regularly to tell us how awesome he is. If it is the filmmakers intent to let us know how obnoxious this reporter is, then that point is convincingly made.
To date, Amanda Knox’s story has inspired two fictional feature films; two US television specials; a made-for-TV movie and three books, one of the latter being Knox’s memoir Waiting To Be Heard, which she clearly no longer is. And with the media circus happy to continue fuelling Amanda’s drug of choice, it could be Hollywood is her next stop and, if that’s the case, she really needs to take some acting classes before getting on that plane.
Canada, Sep 30, 2016
United Kingdom, Sep 30, 2016
Japan, Sep 30, 2016 (internet)
United States, Sep 30, 2016
Netflix, Sep 30, 2016