Amanda Knox online movie review - The Truth Hides its Face
The film presents itself as a 'neutral objective' documentary of the events surrounding the murder of Meredith Kercher in 2007 and the consequent acquittal of the accused pair, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.
The directors, Blackhurst and McGinn, and producer, Stephen Robert Morse, claim they gave it the title, as it became 'all about her'. This is part of the case they wish to put to the viewer, that the pair were only convicted because of the prurient press interest ? as represented by 'villain hack for the DAILY MAIL', Nick Pisa, a cockney 'wide boy' who giggles as he describes his excitement of a "girl-on-girl' crime (which it was, given both Meredith and Amanda are female) and arch villain, the mad Roman Catholic prosecutor, Guiliano Mignini, supposedly obsessed with good and evil, Sherlock Holmes and who took a dislike to Amanda Knox, victimising her because he considered her immoral.
What they do not tell you is that they were longtime campaigners for 'Free Amanda Knox', since at least 2010.
The truth hides its face in this documentary.
The directors claim in their promotional material and supporting 'blurb' they went to great pains to ensure balance and to 'let the protagonists speak for themselves'. These claims given the above, are less than candid. In addition, the film promotes only facts that support their fervently biased views.
How then is the deception carried out?
There are several techniques to engage an audience, not dissimilar to a novel, film or memoir.
1. Make the narrator likable
In the Amanda Knox film, this is done by showing clips of Amanda's and Raffaele's younger days. This is not done for the other defendant, Rudy. we are reminded that Amanda and Raffaele are warm people who were once cute kids. This encourages the viewer to empathise with the subject of the documentary.
We even see Amanda and Raffaele seeming to flirt with each other, each lighting up and smiling as they recall fond memories of the other during their brief affair.
3 Be selective in what you tell the viewer
We are not told about Amanda's previous disturbing short stories about murder and rape, nor about Raffaele's wayward behaviour that caused his father to threaten to put him into rehab. He bragged of his drug taking on social media and posted bizarre images of himself dressed as a maniac wielding a meat cleaver.
The viewer is not informed of Raffaele's obsession with knives and vast collection. If this had been mentioned, Nick Pisa's observation that the knife pricks below Meredith's chin showed she had been taunted and tortured with a knife, would make more sense to the viewer.
There are many salient and incriminating facts and evidence, which the directors leave out completely. Thus, we are only informed of the knife and the bra clasp, but not of the luminol-enhanced footprints of the pair, nor Raffaele's presumed footprint in Meredith's blood on the bathmat.
We are shown the same diagram, more than once, of Rudy's eight circled biological spots with just one for Raffaele, and none for Amanda, when the truth is, there was more DNA evidence found of Amanda at the murder scene than Rudy.
So, we the viewer are led to believe the 'evidence' is flimsy against Amanda and Raffaele and are encouraged to believe there is much more against Rudy.
We are told more than once, 'the DNA evidence of the knife and bra clasp is crucial'.
4. Appeal to Authority
Here DNA scientists, Conti and Vecchiotti appear; the pair proclaim the DNA of the bra clasp and the knife were contaminated and therefore, the 'result of Meredith's DNA on the blade and Raffaele's on the bra clasp is inconclusive.'
The directors conceal from the viewer that the court (Hellmann) who commissioned them was later expunged by the Supreme Court and Vecchiotti and Conti heavily criticised as, 'intellectually dishonest'.
5. Adopt an Anti-Hero
The anti-hero for the filmmakers is Rudy Guede. We are reminded about how his damning evidence is more prolific than Raffaele's or Amanda's. We are reminded that 'evidence still points to Rudy's guilt', whilst the couple are 'exonerated'. This in itself is untrue, as the pair were NOT exonerated. They were acquitted due to insufficient evidence, the US equivalent of the conviction being 'vacated', or the Scottish Law, 'not proved'. At no time did the Supreme Court declare the pair 'innocent', yet the filmmakers constantly claim they were.
6 Lead the viewer to the epiphany
This is a technique popular with Hollywood filmmakers who churn out popular 'feel good' movies. The feel good 'happy ending' here is that the baddie, that is Rudy, remains the only guilty party and, victory, the heroes, Amanda and Raffaele are vindicated.
The next step is to ask, 'How did this happen?'
The viewer is invited to look to the other villains of the piece, Mignini and Pisa. We are encouraged to hate them, and 'boo and hiss'.
And thus, the viewer goes away with the filmmaker's intended message, 'Amanda and Raffaele are innocent', 'exonerated', 'vindicated' 'there was no evidence' and that they suffered 'a miscarriage of justice.
The viewer goes a way with a 'feel good' feeling that right has prevailed over wrong.
The real life reality, as usual, is very different from the idealised Disney vision, as set out by Blackhurst and McGinn.
There is nothing wrong in holding an opinion, of course. The question is, is it an honest one? I would argue, no.
'Amanda Knox' 2016, is not honest, transparent or even ethical.