Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Amanda Knox

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Following on from the unparalleled success of Making A Murderer, Netflix return with another true crime documentary this time focusing on a highly publicised case instead of a stranger than fiction case as Steven Avery's was.

In November 2007, Amanda Knox a 20 year old American student from the University of Washington was doing a year of study and work in Perugia, Italy. There she was sharing a room with young British introvert Meredith Kercher. On November 2nd, Kercher was brutally murdered by an unknown assailant.  Five days before, Knox had met Raffaele Sollectio at an opera and they started an intense love affair.  Being the room-mate, and being very different from the quieter Kercher; the Italian police force in haste mode with the eyes of the world watching needed to make a quick arrest. Therefore, Knox and Sollectio were arrested and ultimately jailed for the murder of Kercher.

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However, the appeals court found that the DNA evidence given as fact in the trial was not sufficient and after review it was found that the presence of Kercher's DNA on the supposed knife that stabbed her was not collaborative with the belief that this knife killed her.  Errors from the police force and the mistakes forcing testimony from scared and innocent individuals, are themes were as an audience are used to following the goings on in Wisconsin.  Sometimes, if you say something enough times a lie becomes fact in the mind of the meek and weak.

The evidence given to us proves that Knox and Sollectio were innocent of the crime, the refusal to believe their collective alibi that they were together in Raffaele's apartment that night was detrimental to the integrity of the Italian Polizi.

You get a sense that the Perugian authorities were fascinated by the eyes of the world falling on their small city with a sex crime demanding action and results.  This need for results and creation of exposure is evoked by the presence of Nick Pisa, journalist of the Daily Mail at the time of the case.

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Pisa (ironic he has an Italian name) was the right man in the right place to tell the story for his career, but the way Pisa describes how he went about fabricating and fluffing up the piece to make it more a tale of sordid depravity and sex scandal leaves as bad a taste in the mouth as you had when watching the Prosecutor in the case of Steven Avery. The constant use of words such as sex and the creation of 'Foxy Knoxy' is indicative of a journalistic profession now becoming as sordid as the stories they supposedly cover, with moral integrity jettisoned for the front page headline. The old adage is 'sex sells' and Pisa followed this motive to the nth degree reveals an ugly face of tabloid journalism.

Interestingly, the film by Rod Blackhurst and Brian McGinn start off the film making you think Knox was lucky to get away with it, she acts aloof in front of the camera and the establishing shots of her in her home cooking surrounding by her cats are shot like a thriller before becoming a mix of talking heads and archive footage a la Errol Morris's The Thin Blue Line.

They may well have had an intention to do something different to normal documentaries, and the poster of her eyes only refers to a line she says, 'You look in my eyes for guilt' but calls back to the films of Hitchcock and the girl in trouble who is more than she appears, but the truth is out and she was found innocent.

All in all, the documentary is restricted by the 90 minute running time when something closer to two hours would have been warranted for a case that gripped the world.

1 comment:

  1. You nailed it! Unfortunately there are still close minded people who dont get it and so the vilifying continues albeit in more muted tones.
    There was a burglar who was disturbed while in bathroom by a resident arriving home ( when he thought all were away from cottage) who happened to know his face. Those small stab marks on poor Meredith's neck were not from taunting her during a sex game, they were by Guede desperate to shut her up and knowing she could/would spill the beans. Ultimately he lost control and stabbed her. He then sexually assaulted her ( read John Douglas FBI profiler on this) while she was dying. He left his palm print in Meredith's blood on a pillow beneath her hips, on her purse, on her jacket, on her bra, in her vagina. He ledt his shoe prints throughout the room. No one else. Just Guede. Then he went dancing and next day fled the country for Germany.
    A burglary that went dreadfully wrong and two innocent people became victims also.