Amanda Knox is a household name, known around the world as a convicted murderer, a promiscuous young woman who killed her flatmate, Meredith Kercher, as part of a twisted sex game. No matter that her conviction has been overturned; no matter that the stories about her are founded on nothing more than prejudice and conjecture: her infamy precedes her, and those who’ve swallowed the tabloid tales remain convinced of her guilt.
This Netflix documentary doesn’t ask whether she’s guilty; her innocence is assumed as a given, and – once we hear the self-satisfied testimonies of Giuliano Mignini, the chief prosecutor, and Nick Pisa, a tabloid journalist – it’s easy to see why. By his own admission, Mignini finds Knox’s behaviour inappropriate: he doesn’t like the fact that she is seen kissing her boyfriend just hours after learning of her flatmate’s death, and paints her as the ‘whore’ to Kercher’s ‘Madonna'(“Maybe,” he hypothesises, “Meredith didn’t like coming home to find men in in her house…”). There’s literally no evidence to support Knox’s conviction, except for a soon-retracted confession, extracted after several gruelling hours of being interviewed/harangued and slapped around the head. Mignini is just a misogynist, reading a young woman’s sexuality as a sign of evil.
Nick Pisa doesn’t fare any better: he relishes the salacious details Mignini feeds to the press, laughing and crowing at the scoop, openly revelling in the fact that there’s blood, murder, young women, sex. Juxtaposed with footage of the crime scene, and interviews with Kercher’s family, the sheer heartlessness of this is hard to watch. And the tabloid’s gleeful exploitation of poor Kercher’s death means that Knox’s life is also destroyed: a young woman, wrongly accused of a dreadful crime, her diary exposed to the world, her (frankly unremarkable) sex life made public and used to shame her… for what?
Her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, was always portrayed as her dupe, a nice young man being manipulated by a Jezebel. What emerges here is a different view: he is indeed a nice young man – and as innocent as his girlfriend of this revolting crime.
Okay, so this isn’t as detailed an exposé as Serial or Making a Murderer – it would be interesting to learn more about how the judicial system got it so wrong – but it’s a compelling documentary nonetheless, and at least gives Knox an opportunity to set her critics straight.