Feature-length documentary examines the murder of Meredith Kercher, the subsequent trial and media coverage
The Jinx and Making a Murderer reinvigorated the true crime documentary format. Netflix's latest feature-length doc covers the trial of Amanda Knox, one of the most sensational and divisive cases of recent years. The key players involved in the murder investigation of Meredith Kercher are presented by filmmakers Rod Blackhurst and Brian McGinn one by one, in talking head form, sitting in front of a simple grey background, in a tightly-wound and compelling film that shames media sensationalism. The Italian prosecutor Giuliano Mignini, the British reporter Nick Pisa, and the defendants who have now been acquitted, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, all get time to speak their piece, with the directors keen to place the spotlight on the real price of a juicy headline.
In a similar manner to the way Amy Berg presented the dangers of pigeonholing people who don't adhere to the norms of society in West of Memphis (a case also probed in the Paradise Lost trilogy and feature film The Devil's Knot), the directors, with writer Matthew Hamacheck, thread together a modern day witch trial. Pisa is shown gleefully reminiscing about how he broke an exclusive story. He talks about how he found a photo of Knox online posing in front of a gun, saying: 'She's a loon, of course she did it.' Blackhurst and McGinn pick apart how selected photos and snippets of Knox's online presence were used against her, as a way to paint a picture of a murdering, sex-crazed psychopath. Mignini is also shown speculating on Knox's past sexual activity as a reason for guilt. Their words echo as a troubling reflection on how society views women. The filmmakers also spoke with the forensic investigators involved in the independent evaluation of the questionable DNA evidence, which eventually led to the acquittal of Knox and Sollecito.
In stark contrast to Pisa's elation, Knox and Sollecito recall the details and the aftermath with sombre contemplation. Knox addresses the camera directly at one point and states, 'Either I'm a psychopath in wolf's clothing or I'm you', suggesting that it could happen to anyone.
Amanda Knox is available on Netflix from Fri 30 Sep.