Film Review: Netflix’s Amanda Knox (USA, 2016) shines a light on trial by media

The trailers for the documentary Amanda Knox (which debuts on Netflix in late September) questions whether the eponymous star did or didn’t commit the murder of British exchange student, Meredith Kercher. The crime that occurred in Perugia Italy in 2007 had an investigation that had more holes than a pile of Swiss cheese. This documentary film focuses on a number of the key players associated with the case and ultimately throws up some very serious questions with respect to the investigation.

The film is directed by Rod Blackhurst and Brian McGinn and is written by Matthew Hamachek and McGinn. The film took over five years to assemble and is like those similar series, Making A Murderer and The Jinx in that it looks to satisfy the public’s urge for true crime stories. The key difference here is that Amanda Knox’s one goes for a lean 90 minutes but it is apparent that this could have benefited by being covered in more depth.

The filmmakers offer some very frank interviews with Amanda Knox and her boyish co-defendant ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, an aspiring Sherlock Holmes-like Italian prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini and the front-page seeking English journalist, Nick Pisa. These interviews – especially with the two former individuals – are quite sobering and are a stark contrast to the footage of the media circus that ensued during the trial. The coverage was a maelstrom where Knox was tyrannised by her own nickname, “Foxy Knoxy” and dubbed a “Femme fatale” and a sexual deviant because of how she responded to the allegations. One can’t help but think of Knox being treated like Lindy Chamberlain because both women did not respond as society believed they should have after both tragedies.

Amanda Knox goes through the different trial and acquittals that took place. It also culminates with the final exoneration of Knox and Sollecito in 2015. The Kercher family are represented very briefly here in newsreel footage. A glaring omission is the lack of interviews with the other neighbours living at Via della Pergola 7 at the time.

The documentary describes the swift investigation by the police where law enforcement officials faced increased pressure from the media who were hell-bent on quick answers. The film also looks at the evidence found at the murder site including the alleged murder weapon and other information that come to light during the course of the investigation. Perhaps the most chilling scenes in the film is where Knox looks boldly at the audience and says, “Either I’m a psychopath in sheep’s clothing or I’m you.”

In Amanda Knox the eponymous character can be quite cold and aloof in her responses but the film shows that that alone does not make her a murderer. The series serves to shine a light on this notorious case and it will have us questioning what really happened that night. It will also have us thinking about how the investigation was bungled, especially when you consider that a lot of circumstantial evidence was used to initially sway the results. The Amanda Knox documentary is ultimately a well-made, fascinating and short film about the infamous murder case and a reminder of what can happen when you are alone in a foreign land and subjected to a trial by media.


Amanda Knox premieres exclusively on Netflix today.