Amanda Knox review – intriguing but flawed Netflix documentary

The American student wrongly convicted of murder speaks for the first time on film in a survey that questions most of the main players

Film-makers Rod Blackhurst and Brian McGinn got a scoop in persuading Amanda Knox to speak for the first time on camera. This was the US foreign-language student in Perugia, Italy, who with her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito was wrongly convicted of murdering her British flatmate Meredith Kercher in some supposed kinky sex game fantasised by the prosecution.

The 2007 judgment was finally overturned after years of appeals. But slightly exasperatingly, the film never gets round to much more than stating – or implying – the obvious: the Italian police and judiciary were guilty of grotesque incompetence, panic, misogyny and misplaced national pride in all but overlooking the obvious culprit in favour of believing that photogenic foreigner Knox was an evil witch.

Amanda Knox: trailer for Netflix documentary

This film could have looked harder at the authorities’ murky and compromised mindset, and made that the focus of their film – along the lines of Nathaniel Rich’s invaluable essay for Rolling Stone in 2011. Instead, they do a steady job of interviewing most of the main players, keeping a deadpan if spurious air of mystery, as Knox says some faintly melodramatic stuff about being perceived as a “psychopath in sheep’s clothing”.

Interviewees include the smug nincompoop of a prosecutor and the journalist who made most of the running in the press pack, the Mail’s Nick Pisa. He sounds crass and insensitive sometimes, but the media bear only negligible guilt, compared to the bizarre and contemptible behaviour of the legal authorities. Knox was a naive 20-year-old when this nightmare happened, deprived of proper legal advice and in a state of shock which was wilfully misinterpreted. Her ordeal is over; the Kercher family’s continues.


Peter Bradshaw

The GuardianTramp

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