After the release of Making a Murderer, one of the best and most talked about series of the year, Netflix proves the perfect platform for Amanda Knox, the young American woman who found herself at the centre of a murder investigation whilst living in Italy, to tell her story away from the sensationalist media that turned her case into an international obsession.
In the rather brilliant documentary from Rod Blackhurst and Brian McGinn, the intelligent and well-spoken Knox comes off so well that, whilst the film gets no closer to the truth of who was responsible for Meredith Kercher’s murder, it’s almost impossible for you not to be on the central subject’s side by the time the credits roll.
The surprising result doesn’t feel like it comes from any bias on the filmmakers part, but rather from the efficient way in which the facts of the case are put across in as much detail as possible. Unlike many other true crime documentaries, this leaves very little doubt, at least in my mind, as to the innocence of Knox. Directly, Amanda Knox feels all the more rewarding, with a sturdy narrative of a beginning, middle and satisfying conclusion.
Extra drama is derived – as if the story couldn’t be more dramatic – from the Italian location of Perugia, a place so beautiful that it’s difficult to believe such terrible crimes could ever be commited there, and the ‘character’ of Giuliano Mignini, the pipe-smoking, self-confessed fan of Sherlock Holmes who is responsible for the prosecution of Knox. A Catholic with conflicting views on society but who is convinced of Amanda’s guilt, the moments in which he discusses his faith in the stunning and grandiose cathedrals of Italy feel like they are straight out of a Francis Ford Coppola movie.
Integral to the film, however, are the questions it raises about wider issues such as sex, the media, language and culture. In one of its most memorable and infuriating moments, Knox discusses how a text message which reads “See you later” is read in a totally different way than intended by Italian investigators. But, perhaps most shocking of all, an interview with a journalist from the Daily Mail reveals how the world’s perception of Amanda was crafted largely by her own good looks and femininity – there’s no doubt whatsoever that it would have been totally different if it were a man in her position.
Everything combined, Amanda Knox is compulsive viewing. As shocking as it is enraging, it has all the drama and intrigue of a best-selling whodunit, the only difference here being that this really happened. Effective, surprising and generally well-made, it’s a documentary which will stick with you for sometime and may just open your eyes to what has been a very divisive case. For that alone, it is incredibly worthwhile.
Image credit to http://www.impawards.com