Amanda Knox’s opening to the most recent documentary about her convictions sets the tone for the film in motion. It is a cold, yet often melodramatic, account of the events following the murder of Meredith Kercher in 2007.
Neutrality is perhaps the documentary’s most intriguing factor. The film aims to be a silent medium as the narrative is provided by interviewees biased both for and against Knox, and commentary is taken from news coverage at the time. The ongoing uncertainty of the case is acknowledged, and we are asked to make up our own mind. Furthermore, praise is deserved for the way it is structured. The combination of old footage and recent interviews creates an interesting conflict between the convicted Knox of 2007, and the free and acquitted Knox of the present.
However, it is in the content of the interviews that the film’s main problems lie. A documentary about murder can be expected to be unsettling, but many of the interviewees are simply inappropriate. As Knox looks up at us through tears and hair or delivers the camera a purposeful stare, she could be mistaken for an actress.
These moments are uncomfortable, but the contribution from Luke Pisa, a journalist involved in the coverage of the murder, crosses into a whole new realm of misogyny and contempt. He comments on the physical appearance of Knox and Kercher multiple times, and everything he says is dictated by his ego, referring to the feeling of reporting the murder as a “fantastic buzz.” The fact that a woman has been murdered is treated as a sidenote.
This exposes the misogyny directed at both Kercher and Knox at the time, but in leaving his comments unquestioned, the filmmakers become complicit in it. They also seem part of the problem, repeatedly and often unnecessarily, showing footage of Kercher’s blood stained room and bra. In these moments, the documentary’s refusal to criticise becomes its downfall, as it begins to embody the sensationalist media it is exposing.
Image : UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia @ Flickr