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Why the Amanda Knox Netflix Documentary Is More Illuminating than a Decade’s Worth of Trial Coverage

Amanda Knox

With extraordinary access to the now exonerated suspects—and the prosecutor who charged them—documentary filmmakers Rod Blackhurst and Brian McGinn get at the core of a murder case that gripped the world.


“The whole world knew who I had sex with: seven men! And yet I was some heinous whore: bestial, sex-obsessed, and unnatural. . . . And if I’m guilty, it means I am the ultimate figure to fear. On the other hand, if I’m innocent, it means everyone’s vulnerable. And it’s everyone’s nightmare.”

That extraordinary bit of monologue comes from Amanda Knox, a young, pretty American student who was studying in Perugia, Italy, and leading a carefree life abroad—until the morning in November 2007 when her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, was found in the house they shared, brutally slaughtered, her neck practically severed from her body. The beautiful Renaissance Italian town became, overnight—and in full view of a world panting for more and more details from the media—the venue of three major nightmares: the Kercher family’s, of course, and Amanda’s and Raffaele Sollecito’s, her Italian boyfriend, who were summarily arrested, convicted, and thrown in prison for four years for a murder neither committed, as I reported for Vanity Fair in 2008.

In January 2014, after much wooing, a pair of thirtysomething filmmakers, Rod Blackhurst and Brian McGinn, got Knox, now 29, to speak on film bluntly and with icy precision about the pain, lies, and excruciatingly inventive worldwide headlines surrounding her travails. A few months later, they received the cooperation of Sollecito, who had endured six months of solitary confinement after his conviction.

Most astonishing of all: last July, Blackhurst and McGinn also managed to persuade Giuliano Mignini, the Italian prosecutor who brought the tabloid-ready case to trial, to appear in their documentary Amanda Knox, which will premiere at the Toronto Film Festival before being released by Netflix on September 30. It is this last get that offers viewers one of the most astonishing scenes, when he blandly reveals an especially imaginative scenario. Amanda’s motive for the murder of a girl she scarcely knew, says the prosecutor, was her “lack of morality,” her desire for “pleasure at any cost,” which led her to wield a large knife “that teases then plunges” into her roommate’s neck.

Despite such lurid theorizing, Amanda Knox, unlike the bulk of nearly a decade’s worth of global press coverage around the case, refuses to editorialize, praise, or rebuke any of its protagonists, and that objective stance is precisely the strength of the film. Read more >>