Amanda Knox Documentary Hits Netflix, Gives Chills

You’ll see Amanda Knox sit in a chair, a gray, portrait-taking backdrop behind her, she’s in a soft pink sweater I think to make her look sweet and innocent, her grayish eyes are large and piercing against her light, glowing skin. She looks at you, and it’s quiet. And she explains why her case, her trial, became an international phenomenon. She says,

“Either I’m a psychopath in sheep’s clothing, or I’m…you.”

(Photo of Amanda)

For those of you that don’t remember the Amanda Knox trial, Amanda was a student, a little quirky, who wanted to find herself, so as college students do, she decided to study abroad. She felt drawn to a little town in Italy called Perugia because of the history in Italy, and she found an apartment there with a British student – also studying abroad – and she got a job at a bar because her course-load was practically nonexistent.

She met an Italian (as you should) and fell in love (as you do). But then she and her boyfriend of a whole week, Rafaelle, returned to Amanda’s apartment to find her British roommate, Meredith, dead.

Meredith’s throat was slit. She was mostly naked, but hidden under a comforter. There was blood all of the floor, and her bra, with the clasp ripped off, was thoroughly soaked with blood, too. There was a bloody hand on the wall, indicating her struggle. And there was unflushed feces in the toilet.

(Photo of Meredith)

Amanda behaved seemingly inappropriately afterward – she laughed to her friends from home, kissed her boyfriend passionately, never cried. Before she knew it, investigators had turned to her and she was in jail for the murder of Meredith.

In four years which she spent largely in an Italian jail cell, Amanda was convicted, had the conviction dropped, was convicted again, and then had the conviction officially thrown out by the Italian Supreme Court.

When Amanda says she’s either a psychopath or “you,” she means that the reason her case is so interesting, the reason her case had international followers and front-page headlines all over the globe, was because Amanda was either the psychopath you’d least expect – a skinny, blonde, innocent, weak, wealthy girl who decided to kill her roommate…or Amanda was just a nobody, an everybody, an innocent college student caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. And the idea that YOU could be found guilty of something you didn’t commit, a MURDER you didn’t commit halfway around the world…well, that was terrifying, too.

But in light of current events (Spoiler Alert: the lovely Donald Trump is briefly quoted in the documentary), I urge people who watch this to pay attention to something larger than Amanda’s case. I urge you to pay attention to the media.

Because the international media did pick up on this story, the Italian police felt extremely pressured to find a suspect and fast. They felt they needed to prove to the entire world that they were capable of convicting murderers. And Amanda seemed guilty, right?

She has a great line in the documentary, where she says, “These are my eyes. They’re not objective evidence,” meaning that no matter what was “seen” in her eyes or how you interpreted her behavior right after the crime, our prosecutors have to have more evidence than that. We all act and respond to different situations differently. If your roommate’s throat was slit, can you honestly say you know how you’d respond?

(Photo of Amanda and Rafaelle after discovering the murder)

So, in the film, Nick Pisa, British journalist, covers Amanda Knox and breaks stories on her again and again. Rumors. Truths. Speculations. All front-page. He compares the high of being on the front page to the feeling of having sex. And then he drops this little line:

“At the end of the day I think you’ve got to point the fingers at the police.”

The police rushed the investigation. They tampered with evidence. DNA analysis was corrupted. They searched Amanda’s eyes for guilt. But does Nick Pisa not deserve a single finger pointed his way? I suppose I can’t say.

(Photo of Nick Pisa)

And, while we’re on the topic of media, Amanda’s father is told in the movie that once Amanda gets home he should rush to get her a book deal, interviews on major networks, get money out of her story while people still care. Her father says he isn’t using his daughter as a way to make money. He cares for her health and safety. That’s sweet. And nothing came out of her return to America for a while. But now there is a documentary. Fresh media. Money. What can we think of that?

Some argue that media misrepresentation/overrepresentation/underrpresentation has led to the current candidates and current election we're about to have. Has led to Brexit. Has led to misinformed people feeling highly, highly informed and highly vocal. What role does our media actually play and what role do we want our media to play?

Photo credits:1, 2, 3, 4, 5