Amanda Knox is the latest true crime documentary on Netflix, and it hits all the right marks. You do not want to miss this one!
From the opening shot of Amanda Knox herself introducing the story, you’re pulled right into the story all over again. And let’s face it, Amanda Knox is a documentary that has everything you could ever wish for in an exciting crime thriller.
Except of course, it’s a true crime story. It really happened. And the media went completely crazy with this particular story of a 20-year old All-American girl, who was suddenly caught up in the murder of a British girl in Italy.
And really, it is Amanda Knox herself who captures the audience from the first second. With complete honesty, she lays it all out there; “Either I’m a psychopath in sheep’s clothing… or I am you!”
Setting the scene from the very first frame
When a documentary can begin by setting the stage with both options so readily available – and stated by the person at the center of it all – then you can’t help but sit back and pay attention. What Amanda Knox is really about, is how the media ended up shaping way too much of the outcome. The Italian police was more than happy to have a foreign person to blame for it all – despite two other people (both Italian citizens) also being arrested and convicted of the murder.
Of course, when you watch this documentary – and you really should – you’ll probably find yourself being irritated by many people, but especially the “journalist” Nick Pisa and the prosecutor Giuliana Mignini. These two used this murder case to build their careers. They’re active participants in this documentary and come across as insanely arrogant!
The Amanda Knox story is scary because it really could happen to you
One thing is the fact that Nick Pisa was having the time of his life, since he kept getting his name on the front page, when he wrote yet another crazy story about Amanda Knox. One fed to him by the police or “sources” that just wanted to be part of it all. But listening to the prosecutor, Giuliana Mignini, making conclusions based solely on his own worldviews is downright scary.
You will also find yourself thinking “Why are you smiling?!” when they show archive footage of Amanda Knox during the first trial. It’s probably because she’s out of her jail cell, or seeing more than one family member at a time. Still, I found myself thinking; Why aren’t her lawyers (or even her family) telling her to stop smiling, when she’s on trial for murder. And she definitely doesn’t smile much later on.
Of course, this is also when you find yourself questioning why this even matters. I mean, you don’t get convicted of murder because you’re smiling, when other people think you should be crying. Or maybe you do? It certainly wasn’t due to overwhelming evidence. All of which was [at best] circumstantial.
Watching Amanda Knox, you get a very real idea about how the Salem Witch trials played out. And – even closer to home – how people can get either convicted or acquitted based almost entirely on who they are and not what they did – or didn’t – do.
Is True Crime becoming a Netflix niche?
HBO has been doing documentaries for a long time, including true crime documentaries such as The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, which I highly recommend. And now, after the success of Making a Murderer on Netflix, it seems like Netflix is focusing on True Crime. For the record, I devoured Making a Murderer in a binge-watching frenzy. I loved it and can’t wait for season 2.
Still, I was actually happy that Amanda Knox was made as a documentary film instead of a full series. With the True Crime niche becoming a trademark for Netflix, I’m happy to see they’re doing both the stand-alone movies and in-depth series.
The Amanda Knox documentary was written by Brian McGinn and Matthew Hamachek. Hamachek has been part of amazing documentaries like Cartel Land, Gideon’s Army, and If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front. McGinn tends to work more as a director, and while he recently directed a few documetary projects, most of his IMDb resume is short films featuring Dave Franco.
However, McGinn directed Amanda Knox along with director Rod Blackhurst, who made the amazing Here Alone (winner of the Audience Award at Tribeca), so he has worked on these much darker projects. And Amanda Knox is a dark and scary story that gives you a very real feeling that this could happen to you. And if you’ve ever had anything to do with Italian police, this story will seem all to real.
On a personal note, this documentary did feel a bit close to home. I was witness to a car accident in a small village in Italy last year and the police at the scene were so inept, we would’ve been better off with Mall security guards. I’m sure there are amazing police officers in Italy, but I know from first hand experience, that the sort of police “assistance” seen in this documentary is very real, and probably all too common. Especially the part about wanting to blame someone from outside Italy rather than accept what the facts are showing, when the facts show that a local was to blame.
Amanda Knox premiered at Toronto International Film Festival on September 10 and was available on Netflix from September 30.
Director: Rod Blackhurst, Brian McGinn
Writer: Matthew Hamachek, Brian McGinn
Cast: Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito, Giuliana Mignini, Nick Pisa, Curt Know
American exchange student Amanda Knox is convicted and eventually acquitted for the 2007 death of another student in Italy.