Amanda Knox Movie Review
As a Seattle native, I’m particularly well acquainted with the Amanda Knox murder trial. Not only was her guilt and innocence a common subject of conversation in her hometown, but after her return following her four-year prison stint, it was also not entirely uncommon to see “I saw Amanda Knox at the grocery store” updates on Facebook (okay, that happened twice).
Amanda Knox, the new, creatively titled documentary that debuted on Netflix this weekend, is a slick, powerful and engrossing reminder of the case and the media circus that surrounded it. The doc features interviews and a few overly staged scenes with Knox (look, there’s Amanda standing alone on a ferry in Puget Sound! And there’s Amanda making meatballs!), as well as the Italian prosecutor Giuliano Mignini who became convinced, and remains convinced, of her guilt. Their two narratives, coupled with that of Amanda’s ex-boyfriend and fellow accused Raffaele Sollecito, guide the audience through the investigation and multiple trials, offering conflicting perspectives.
At just over 90 minutes long, Amanda Knox is fast-paced and intriguing, even if it is rather straightforward. If you’re familiar with the case, it is a well told refresher; if you’re not... well, the case throws more than a few curveballs to make it one of the more fascinating true-crime stories in recent memory.
Directors Rod Blackhurst and Brian McGinn, both Americans, likely have some bias in favor of Knox’s innocence—and the evidence, or lack thereof, certainly supports the same—but what makes Amanda Knox so good is the access to Mignini and his colleagues. While Mignini begins to sound like a small-town sheriff whose grand ideas aren’t supported by fact, his adamancy that Knox is guilty helps the documentary strike a relatively neutral tone—and leaves just a little doubt in the back of your mind. If Knox thought that the documentary would be squarely in her court, she’s mistaken.
That said, assuming the ultimate decision by the Italian Supreme Court was the correct one, Amanda Knox offers a vivid depiction of justice gone awry, of accusations and convictions based on poor policing and wild theories, and of two people who were locked away for four years for a crime they didn’t commit.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.