While many of us imagine study abroad filled with only good food and good times, the story of Amanda Knox is one to remember. When Knox, age 20 at the time, studied abroad in Perugia, Italy, her only worry was how she would change during her time abroad. What she didn’t account for was being a suspect in the murder of her roommate and subsequently subjected to becoming the face of one of the most infamous trials of the century.
Produced by Street alumni Stephen Morse (C’07), the Netflix documentary titled Amanda Knox was released last Friday. In an attempt to bring all the pieces of the trial together in a way investigators didn't, the documentary involves many of the key players from the original 2007 trial: Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito (her Italian boyfriend and suspected partner–in–crime), Nick Pisa (one of the more active reporters during the case), and Giuliano Mignini (the primary prosecutor on the case).
Filmed in an interview format, with old, original footage and minimal dramatization interspersed, the documentary allows viewers to come up with their own conclusions about a case that many believe was handled unfairly due to media interference. It is true that the media influences our judgments on many things, so why would murder be any different? Nick Pisa, the representative of the media in this particular documentary, himself says, “What more do you want in a story?! I mean all we’re missing is the royal family and the pope!” By distilling the people interviewed to just the main players, including a reporter, one better understands all points of view as well as why the initial trial and investigation were deemed insufficient and a “trial by media”.
In the chilling trailer, Knox expresses to us our deepest fear concerning her case. “If I’m innocent,” she begins, “it means that everyone is vulnerable. And that’s everyone’s nightmare. Either I’m a psychopath in sheep’s clothing, or I am you.” And with those words, even after watching the documentary in full, viewers are left to wonder themselves whether Knox was in fact an unsuspecting student abroad or the sex–crazed murderer the media made her out to be.
Even if you are not into non–fiction murder mysteries, the Amanda Knox documentary is a great example of Penn alumna working in film after college.
Watch the trailer below. The documentary is now available on Netflix.