Some thoughts about the new Netflix documentary
It’s been a big year for pop murder documentaries. There were several major television events for the O.J. Simpson and JonBenét Ramsey cases in 2016, and I happily tuned into all of them. Even though the quality… varied (“American Crime Story” was the best, iD’s JonBenét coverage was not). There was so much that flew over my head the first time around: Race! Class! Privilege! Mid-nineties media coverage was incredibly unwoke, so it was cool to peer back from twenty years in the future and go, “Whoa.”
Something that makes a little less sense to me is that today, Netflix released Amanda Knox, a documentary about the woman who was initially convicted and later acquitted for the 2007 murder of Meredith Kercher. Italy’s supreme court only laid the case to rest in March of 2015, a little more than a year ago—is there really any new perspective that can be offered on the evidence from this short of a distance? Apparently yes.
Here is what I know about Amanda Knox: I have clicked on articles and wiki’d her no less than ten times over the years, saying to myself, “This is the time I am going to understand what everyone’s freaking out about!” But it has yet to happen. Invariably, I get one sentence in, scroll down to get the gist from the photo captions, and then click over to another tab. It’s like trying to pay attention to the royal family—the nouns are way too boring.
Here is what I know about the case:
- a white, American Amanda studied abroad in Italy
- someone was murdered
- Amanda says she did not do the murder
- other people, however, seem to think she did
- she went to Italian jail
So that’s been my impression of the case until this point. A murder happened and Amanda was held in jail, maybe wrongfully. I could never quite grasp what had tabloid-buyers so captivated. These are the details of one pretty run-of-the-mill-seeming homicide, not a years-long international news story. Did she murder a viceroy? Why do we as a pop culture care about these people specifically? What are the stakes?
I realize that part of it, too, is that face-wise I can absolutely believe that this person could do a murder. In courtroom footage, she always looked saucer-pupiled and shook, like that old viral video dog who loves cupcakes or Jax from Vanderpump Rules:
Though the trauma of being wrongfully jailed and held against your will in a foreign land when you’d planned on spending twelve weeks ordering absinthe cocktails and experimenting with pashminas might easily do that to your eyes.
All I can say for sure is that, as far as legal thriller tabloid journalism went, this story fell short for me, and I am surprised to see it get a dedicated documentary. So I am going to watch Amanda Knox and report back with my findings. Here we go.
“Either I am a psychopath in sheep’s clothing, or I am you,” she says to me with unwavering eye contact in a light peach tissue tee against a gray backdrop. Damn Amanda.
Oh my god is this a case about how hot people get away with things because they’re hot? Is that the central tension? Everyone wants to make sure she’s not getting away with something because she’s hot, and so everyone paid attention to this case for years? The media should check out movies and TV. They’re wild.
Nick Pisa, who covered the case for The Daily Mail, just said, “A murder always gets people going. Bit of intrigue. Bit of mystery. A whodunit. And we have here this beautiful, picturesque hilltop town in the middle of Italy. It was a particularly gruesome murder. Throat slit, semi-naked, blood everywhere. I mean… what more do you want in a story? I mean, all you’re missing is maybe, I don’t know, the Royal Family and the Pope or something like that as well,” which is funny because I cannot imagine two more sterile or boring content examples. I literally made fun of the royal family in the intro. “All this story needs to get spicier is some outmoded British governmental figures or a 79-year-old Catholic male!!!!”
Oh okay he also reported that this girl could have been murdered at an orgy. We’re a nation of Puritans and if a hot girl did a murder at an orgy it means we can continue being terrified of both women’s sexuality and sex in general. Got it. Fun case!
Amanda Knox keeps referring to sex as “making love” and I want 2 die
I wonder if that is a courtroom training thing to make her seem more innocent. Murderers do sex, Amandas make love.
WAIT HER ITALIAN BOYFRIEND SIGNED A STATEMENT CONTRADICTING HER ALIBI (THAT SHE COULDN’T HAVE DONE THE MURDER BC THEY WERE AT HIS PLACE BONING AND WATCHING AMÉLIE*). RUFF STUFF, AMANDA.
AND THEN WHEN THEY QUESTIONED HER SHE BLAMED THE MURDER ON HER BOSS? WHY DID EVERYONE HAVE A PSYCHOLOGICAL BREAK AT POINT 1A IN THE INTERVIEW?
Googling whether you can be gaslit that quickly.
I guess if you’re in shock?
“It had that sexual intrigue. Girl-on-girl crime, if you like.” But someone died!!!!
Wait when they took her to jail they gave her a blood test and SHE FOUND OUT SHE HAD HIV?!? That’s her punishment for being a sex-haver! That guy was right, all this anti-fuck fable needs is the Pope!
Somehow the press got ahold of her prison diary and found out that, 1) the Italian police had administered a blood test and, 2) had presented her with FALSE RESULTS telling her that she HAD HIV just to FUCK WITH HER and SEE IF SHE’D CHANGE HER STORY. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 :)))))))
At this juncture it is very clear who this documentary would like me to sympathize with, but no matter what it seems like this is an exploitation story. The most traditional of feminine crime narratives. They made her a sex witch.
Hey I’m not one of the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies, but this Rudy Guede guy seems……….suspicious DNA-wise.
… you get the gist.
By the end of the documentary you get a pretty clear picture of what Amanda Knox thinks happened: the local Italian law enforcement did a bad job investigating, decided who they thought was guilty, and then bent the evidence to meet their ruling. So there’s definitely something to get fired up about in 2016, it’s just not the verdict like it was for O.J.’s or JonBenét’s cases.
Amanda Knox is here to critique the tabloidcore media coverage that launched her case into the spotlight and, according to her, contributed to her imprisonment. She wanted to be a regular girl getting a regular trial based on regular analysis of the evidence they dug out of her regular life—what she got was a twenty-four-hour circus, one of the first of its kind as far as the internet goes. In her case, it might have gotten in the way of justice.
At some point toward the end she literally points to her face and says, “These are my eyes, they’re not objective evidence,” so, let me take this moment to say both “Whoops!” and “Sorry Amanda!”
I liked your movie.
*this is the most study abroad alibi of all time and I am inclined to believe it is true