Crime of the Century
An Overview On The Amanda Knox Documentary
October 31, 2016
On November 1st 2007, 21 year-old exchange student Meredith Kercher was found brutally murdered in her apartment in Perugia, Italy. The main suspect, her 20 year-old roommate Amanda Knox, was arrested in December of 2009, and later acquitted in 2013. Named the “crime of the century,” Knox’s story kept the attention of people around the globe for years- and still does today. A Netflix documentary released on the 30th of September, 2016 relates the whole story, told primarily from the perspective of Knox.
The documentary leads in with Knox’s chilling quote “Either I am a psychopath in sheep’s clothing, or I am you,” setting the scene of a very raw and emotional film.
After years of media harassment and interference blowing up the case, and Knox’s final acquittal, rookie film directors Rod Blackhurst and Brian McGinn never expected to get consent for Knox’s participation in the film.
“I think she just saw us as two young guys, and we weren’t the stereotypical people that were probably reaching out to her at the time. We didn’t have any preconceived ideas about her or the case,” Blackhurst comments.
The film features key participants of the case: Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito, prosecutor Giuliano Mignini, and journalist Nick Pisa. Each person supplies their own perspective as they experienced the investigation and trial.
“The humanity at the heart of the story had been lost. People had forgotten that there were real people whose lives were at stake. People had forgotten that someone had lost their life. It had become these headlines,” Blackhurst recalls, “And we were fascinated by that.”
Each interviewee is shown directly facing the camera against a plain background to make the audience feel as though the subject was speaking directly to them, thus recapturing the emotion of the case. The story is told solely through these interviews, along with prison recordings and court documents to ground the story in facts.
The film causes the audience to question the role of the media in this case and how it may have changed the outcome of the verdict.
Nick Pisa, a journalist from the Daily Mail who covered the case extensively, recalls how media representatives swarmed the crime scene and court cases to get the latest scoop ahead of rival publishers.
“To see your name on the front page with a great story that everyone’s talking about is just a fantastic buzz,” Pisa relates, “it’s like having sex or something like that.”
The main focus of the film, however, is a direct timeline of the full investigation and trials of Knox and Sollecito. It covers all of the grisly details of the murder, the confusion of the investigation directly following and the circumstantial evidence and careless mistakes made by the police department. Leaving no stone unturned, the film is careful to report only facts, clearing up the confusion around what really happened in this case.
Despite this, the family of the victim, Meredith Kercher, deem the film “unnecessary” and claim focusing solely on Knox and Sollecito takes away from the tragedy of Kercher’s death.
“Everyone seemed to say they wanted to try to rebuild their lives, including Knox and Sollecito, and yet we constantly see programs and interviews,” Meredith’s sister, Stephanie Kercher, says, “I don’t understand why they want to keep reliving this nightmare.”
The film includes graphic images from the crime scene itself, which Stephanie claims is “completely unnecessary.”
“’That was pretty upsetting to hear because I don’t see how that serves any purpose. I still have trouble getting over images that I have seen previously- it’s hard when you see things,” Stephanie says.
Despite Stephanie’s negative review of the documentary, it still has achieved good reviews on sites such as IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes, with a rating of 7 or more stars.
With the Knox case being such a hot topic for media outlets around the globe, the producers themselves stay objective and only offer opinions made by the interviewees themselves, thus leaving the audience to form their own take on the outcome of the investigation. It contains some graphic material and is recommended to mature audiences only.
*All Photos Are Courtesy of Netflix*