Mention the name Amanda Knox, and most people already have a pretty strong opinion. For almost a decade, and for most of Knox's twenties, this young woman from Seattle was at the centre of one of the most notorious criminal cases in recent history. Now, a new doc, ‘Amanda Knox’, is coming to Netflix, and it might make you view her with fresh eyes.
Back in November 2007, Knox was a 20-year-old American student who had only been in the Italian city of Perugia for a few weeks when her British housemate Meredith Kercher was found murdered in her bedroom. Very quickly, Knox and her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito became suspects and were charged with her murder. Two years later, they were found guilty (alongside Perugia resident Rudy Guede) but were later released on appeal, tried again and found guilty again – but they were finally exonerated by the Italian Supreme Court in 2015.
Despite being cleared, Knox still carries with her many of the hysterical headlines that were published after Kercher's murder. She was 'Foxy Knoxy'. She behaved oddly after her arrest, doing cartwheels in a police station and snogging her boyfriend near the crime scene. She was sex-obsessed. She was a liar. It's a surprise no one tried to make a link between her and the assassination of JFK or even 9/11.
The new film takes a sober, in-depth look at the murder and the trials. It features new interviews with Sollecito and Knox (now 29 and living back in her home city of Seattle), and it makes you understand what it must have felt like for two people who had known each other only for a few days to be swept up in such a nightmare. It also offers some pretty gruesome footage from the murder scene and uncovers some little-heard audio evidence.
The film also features two long interviews with chief investigator Giuliano Mignini and British journalist Nick Pisa, and their testimonies go a long way to convincing us how badly the pair were treated by the justice system and media. Mignini shares several bizarre theories which influenced his investigation, while Pisa can't hide his glee at covering such a great story. Sex! Youngsters! An American abroad! Blood! A smile creeps across his face when he talks about the 'girl-on-girl' aspect of the case.
It's still a story with a lot of unanswered questions. That's mostly because there's never been a definitive account of what happened behind closed doors to Kercher, and it's unlikely there ever will be. But here's a chance for you to consider the case again away from the heat of the moment.
'Amanda Knox' will be on Netflix from Friday September 30. Here are some more great documentaries on Netflix.