Fix: True Crime Documentary, Patriarchal Fear-Mongering
She was twice convicted and acquitted of murder. Amanda Knox and the people closest to her case speak out in this illuminating documentary.
On November 2, 2007, English exchange student Meredith Kercher was found brutally murdered in her shared Italian apartment, in Perugia, Italy. Shortly after, her American roommate, Amanda Knox (and her boyfriend), were arrested for the murder. This documentary is about her. In the multi-year media circus that followed, the attention became far more focused on the accused than the victim. The lead prosecutor painted Amanda as an uninhibited femme fatale, who convinced her Harry Potter-looking boyfriend of one week, and some rando she hardly knew, to join her in raping and killing her roommate in a drug-fueled sex game gone wrong. And the media happily ran with this tale. This film features interviews with Amanda, her ex-boyfriend, and lawyers, and press that were part of the eight year ordeal.
Warning: There is some fairly disturbing crime scene footage featured in the film.
Familiar Faces (from news and tabloids):
The 20 year-old Seattle native was studying abroad for a year, and in the midst of a new infatuation, when she became part of a nightmare. Many people found Amanda’s reaction to the murder to be unusual and off-putting.
The 21 year-old student from South London has never received the same amount of publicity as her accused murderers. Meredith was studying Italian, and European politics, and wanted to be a journalist. By all accounts, she was popular, and well-liked.
A 23 year-old Italian computer science graduate, had been dating Amanda for one week before the murder. He was shy, had not had many girlfriends, and was perceived as being easily manipulated.
A 20 year-old Ivory Coast orphan, who grew up in Perugia, is the only one whose bloody fingerprints are found all over the crime scene. He was already the suspect in multiple break-ins, and had been arrested committing another only days before.
The public prosecutor for the town of Perugia was infamous for finding sex cult and satan worshipping conspiracies behind every case, and had already faced professional embarrassment before this one landed in his lap.
Also, featuring a reporter for the Daily Mail that is a such a garbage human, that I don’t even want to give him his own photo. He gives all appearance of believing this documentary is about him, and all the bylines he scored off this case.
Couch-Sharing Capability: Gather Your Angry Feminist Friends
Do you ever look back on yourself at age 20 and think “God, I was an insufferable idiot”? That’s basically this, except imagine also being covered by the international media, tabloids stealing your diary, and reporting on how many sex partners you’ve had, and the entire world mocking your MySpace persona. Oh, and you’re on trial for a murder you were railroaded into confessing to. The misogynist overtones in this case are shocking, and terrifying. As Amanda says in the film, “if I’m innocent, it means that everyone is vulnerable, and that is everyone’s nightmare.”
Recommended Level of Inebriation: Dead Sober
For anyone who followed this case, there isn’t a ton of new information. However, the gravity of the subject doesn’t really lend itself to tossing a few back. One of the more disturbing aspects of the case is when Amanda feels coerced into implicating her boss, Patrick Lumumba, an innocent black man. Coerced confessions are nothing new. But it’s important to examine the societal prejudices that made her name this particular person in an effort to take the heat off herself. The film doesn’t spend any time doing this. Okay, you may need to drink after that.
Use of Your Netflix Subscription: Moderate
If true crime isn’t your thing, I’m not sure how much you’d get out of this. However, this is a Netflix Original, so you won’t see it anywhere else. (Bonus: It’s a lot shorter, and less involved than Making a Murderer.) As someone who hasn’t traveled as much as I’d like, I’m fascinated by the cultural and legal aspects of Italy that we learned about during this case. It’s also interesting to see how American women are perceived in other parts of the world. If you have any interest in true crime, how the media can manipulate a narrative, or want to know how frighteningly easy it is to be convicted of a crime you didn’t commit, then I definitely recommend this.