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AMANDA KNOX (directors: Rod Blackhurst/Brian McGinn; screenwriters: Matthew Hamachek, Brian McGinn; cinematographer: Rod Blackhurst; editor: Matthew Hamachek; music: Danny Bensi, Saunder Jurriaans; cast: Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito, Nick Pisa, Guiliana Mignini; Runtime: 92; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Mette Heide; Netflix; 2016)
“Compelling true-crime story.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Rod Blackhurst (Here Alone) and Brian McGinn (Chef’s Table) co-direct this compelling true-crime story that caught the public’s attention in Italy, England and America. The documentary is co-written by McGinn and Matthew Hamachek, and is filled with never before disclosed details of the murder investigation. It revels in how botched was the investigation of the brutal murder of 22-year-old English girl Meredith Kercher on November 2, 20007, in Perugia, Italy. It also tells of how tabloid journalism messed around with the facts in the notorious murder case and its false headlines made it harder to find the truth. Though the documentary will not completely clear things up as to matters of guilt or innocence, it’s more illuminating than the fuzzy coverage of the past ten years. The flaky 20-year-old Amanda had been in Italy only a short time from her home in Seattle, Washington as an exchange student to study in Perugia. One of her house roommates was the fellow exchange student Meredith. A week before the murder Amanda met an Italian boy, Raffaele Sollecito, and, in her testimony, tells that on the night of the murder they smoked pot and made love in his apartment. When Amanda returned that morning to her place she showered and afterwards opened the door to Meredith’s room to find a bloody mess. The despicable British reporter Nick Pisa, a twit who was proud to see his name in print and could care less if what he wrote was true, was allowed by the investigators access to the crime scene. Without proof he called it a sex orgy crime, and this headline stuck as it traveled across the world. The smug Italian prosecutor Guiliana Mignini didn’t care for Amanda’s loose attitude and pressed-hard to get her convicted. In 2011, after serving four years in prison, she was released and returned to the States. It wasn’t until 2015 that Italy’s higher court exonerated her from her wrongful conviction. According to the inept prosecutor and raunchy boyfriend, Amanda acted strangely throughout the investigation, showing no concern for the brutally murdered victim. This supposedly made them suspect she might have been involved in the murder. The documentary reveals how sloppy was the investigation, how bias were the investigators (basing their guilty claims on hunches), that the crime scene was compromised and that the forensic evidence was faulty. It’s a sad story because of the savage murder and the ordeal that Amanda had to endure because of bad police work and unreliable newspaper reporting. All indications are that the convicted local burglar, Rudy Guede, convicted with both Amanda and Raffaele Sollecito and still imprisoned, was the sole killer.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”