Amanda Knox is a 2016 documentary exclusively on Netflix. Based on the international murder case that shook the world, Amanda Knox was a then 20-year-old American student studying abroad in Italy. On the morning of November 2nd, 2007, the body of Meredith Kercher was found by police after roommate Amanda Knox, and then boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, reported the apartment in disarray and covered in blood. The events that followed would lead the world by storm for the next decade, as the pair would unknowingly become two of the most highly profiled persons in international news and headlines, as they were suspected of being the actual attackers who murdered Meredith.
This film clearly shines brightest in its exploration of the people behind the scenes of it all. From the inspectors trying to implicate a killer and quickly resort to Knox, to the worldwide media creating a frenzy over Knox and her character, you get to see the highs and lows of that comes with these high-profile cases. It’ll bring you completely up to speed on the mishandling of both the media and the Italian murder investigators working on her case. What’s kind of a double-edged sword, in fact, is the inclusion of testimony from one British journalist named Nick Pisa and the main prosecutor against Amanda Knox, Giuliano Mignini. While I’m sure they included themselves in the production to provide testimony and give perspective on their positions in the ordeal, they mostly come off as just trying to justify their mistakes. The prosecutor himself remained steadfast in his belief that Knox was guilty almost entirely throughout. Which actually serves as fuel to the out of control hellfire that became the Amanda Knox investigation, and as a viewer you will feel very moved by the events unfolding before you.
The subject matter alone is quite engrossing, and without fault it makes you feel for the young pair having to spend almost a decade of their lives enduring such an unbelievable experience. In large part, this is because of an excellent array of real world footage to back up Knox’s account of what transpired. Videos that show the real crime scene, catching a small glimpse of Meredith’s body, even the footage that could make you question why Knox was acting so strange around such a traumatic time. It’s all there for you to witness, and for you to decide if the inspectors had any right to believe Knox was really guilty.
The problem, however, is that this Netflix documentary treats itself too much like a Hollywood production rather an attempt to tell the case’s story to the finest of details. I’m fairly certain half of this feature is raw footage from the days of Knox’s murder case, but the rest are just recently filmed shots of Amanda, Nick, or the inspectors walking around. Not faulting the recent interviews, mind you, those add a great deal to the piece. I’m just referring to an overabundance of “stock footage” that takes away from the spell of its interesting subject matter, because they really add nothing other than being a time filler. Which, in the end, helps this program come off like it’s stuck somewhere between “proper documentary” and “failed attempt at a Hollywood crime feature.” Which can be quite a bit of a detriment when the viewers are here for a story, and the feature makes so many turns away from the real reason we’re all watching this.
Lastly, there isn’t quite enough detail to the going-ons before the murder actually took place. Poor Meredith’s back story is completely glossed over for the sake of focusing almost entirely on Amanda. Sure, the end goal of this documentary is to raise awareness about the messy investigation and deplorable media allegations, but there’s frankly a lot missing that could have contributed to the larger picture of “Everyone vs Amanda and Sollecito.” The second guilty verdict is completely skimmed over for the sake of seeing Knox’s reaction of the second verdict instead. Even the former boyfriend, Sollecito, who was half of the entire story of the real world case, barely gets any screen time. It just leaves quite a few questions unanswered, and maybe the extra perspectives could have at least answered a few of them. If Making a Murderer could keep people engaged over the course of six hours, why does Amanda Knox struggle so much to stay on point? Especially when there’s so many points that the film just decided to skim over.
This Netflix original documentary inarguably has its merits to exist. The way the Italian police investigators try to justify their mistakes, and quickly assume Amanda’s guilt, would make anyone’s skin crawl. However, this feature never quite forms up into the great documentary it’s trying so hard to become. Which is slightly disappointing, especially when you consider the captivating subject material of Knox’s ordeal; going from conviction to acquittal to conviction again and finally one last acquittal. Amanda Knox will provide enough for examination die-hards to go out and learn more about Knox’s story after watching it, but this feature definitely won’t turn as many heads as fellow Netflix murder investigations like Making a Murderer or Dear Zachary.