Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


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Documentary in review: “Amanda Knox”

Documentary in review: “Amanda Knox”

Nathaniel Nelson / Winonan

Out of every line in Netflix’s “Amanda Knox” documentary, the first one by Amanda Knox  hits the hardest.

“If I’m guilty, it means I am the ultimate figure to fear. On the other hand, if I’m innocent, it means everyone’s vulnerable. And it’s everyone’s nightmare.”

Normally, I don’t like reviewing documentaries, since it’s fairly difficult to review nonfiction compared to your every day Hollywood CGI overload. But for this week, I made an exception. “Amanda Knox” is a triumph, presenting the case in a straightforward and incredibly effective way. Unlike the older documentaries, this shows the real story behind the mass obsession with this international murder. More importantly, it shows how the media and the American public came together to vilify Knox. You will be appalled, entertained and informed, and there’s nothing better for a documentary to achieve.

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In 2007, Amanda Knox’s roommate, Meredith Kercher, was murdered in their home in Italy, in a grisly scene straight out of a horror film. Knox was quickly arrested and charged for the crime, along with her boyfriend of one week, Raffaele Sollecito. This began a complete and utter circus of an investigation and case, involving everything from police brutality, character degradation and tabloid-level media coverage.  After being found guilty twice and exonerated twice, this look at Knox is the most factual one to date.

And it’s terrifying.

Many of the details about the case were borderline nonsensical and completely unethical, and this documentary focuses on those aspects. For the first time, Knox, Sollecito and the prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, were all interviewed for the same documentary, and with it came some startling revelations. For one, Mignini seems to be completely detached from the actual act of investigation. In fact, he was sure that Knox was the murderer not from evidence, but from the way she acted. He based the entire case off of this, which is a terrible way to go about an investigation. In addition, he fancied himself a detective like the detective novels of old, which only goes to show that he was more involved with himself than actually solving the case.

Knox’s interviews are, for lack of a better term, incredible. For the first time we really get a look into her side of the story, and how this affected her. Now, one of the reasons why this case was so important was how the American media latched onto it, and in a very negative way. They published articles about how she was a crazed sex addict, and how the “look in her eyes” was enough to know that she was the killer. They even leaked a diary from her time in prison, which included everything from who she slept with to fears that she had HIV (the idea of which was implanted by the police to scare her). This was a trial by media, destroying her character bit by bit to abolish all doubt that she could be innocent.

Speaking of the media, it is possibly the most sickening revelation of the documentary. A writer for the Daily Mail, Nick Pisa, takes center stage as one of the journalists to write about the Knox case. As a journalist myself, some of his comments were appalling to the point that he started to take on the role as the real villain of the case.

“But, hey, what are supposed to do, you know? We are journalists and we are reporting what we are being told,” Pisa said. “It’s not as if I can say, ‘Right, hold on a minute. I just wanna double check that myself in some other way.’ I mean, goodness knows how. And then I let my rival get in there first before me, and then, hey, I’ve lost a scoop.”

It’s this kind of approach to journalism that causes these kinds of screwed up misconceptions about individuals, and in the case of Knox, it most definitely helped put the blame on her.

I focused more on the content than the style for this review, but that’s not to say “Amanda Knox” is not beautifully done. The interviews are poignant and filmed well, and the editing allows the documentary to move at a breakneck pace, without the viewer losing attention or enjoyment. But the style isn’t the point of the film. The documentarians manage to make a documentary that is as well-done as it is informative, which is the most anyone could ask from a non-fiction film such as this. While there were some questions left unanswered, “Amanda Knox” is a class act in every sense of the word, but be prepared to be frustrated, angry and possibly even sickened. 4.5/5

-By Nathaniel Nelson

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