Starring: Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito, Giuliano Mignini
Director: Rod Blackhurst, Brian McGinn
Running Time: 92 mins
Amanda Knox is an American documentary about the story of a 20 year old American exchange student in Italy who was accused of the murder of her roommate, sparking a deep investigation and a media frenzy that continued over the course of almost a decade.
The case of Amanda Knox was a story that I never really followed closely, but vaguely knew of. So, I went into this documentary knowing as little as possible, and looking to be informed as to what all the fuss was about. When it comes to being informative, I can say that this film does a top job, making for a really interesting watch, whilst its excellent directing and style lifts it to the level of a cinematic, exciting and passionately-delivered documentary.
Let’s start with what really makes this film work so well, the story. It’s an absolutely thrilling and riveting case of mystery, legal complications and press intervention all in one, and the film does a brilliant job of bringing all that to light as clearly as possible.
Structured around the interviews of the four main players in the story, Amanda Knox, her boyfriend, a police chief and a journalist. In that, you not only get a well-balanced and wide view of the various points of view of this case, but it also begins to feel a lot like a classic murder mystery, which is what makes this film so much more riveting than you’d expect.
What’s even more interesting about the interviews is how they’re directed. This isn’t your normal documentary where we cut to various people sitting in their libraries off-centre in shot. Instead, the main players are interviewed straight on, and in front of a grey background, giving their interjections a far greater dramatic intensity that really adds to the drama of the story.
And as the various interviewees narrate the story over the course of the film, there are even some thrilling moments in which one person narrates over a straight shot of their opposing party, an ingenious directorial decision that brought even more intensity to the story.
Beyond the interviews, the way the documentary blends footage from the events with some incredibly eerie shots of the scene of the crimes and events in modern day, all set to a very unsettling score, were brilliant to see, pulling me more and more into the dark and mysterious nature of everything that’s happening here.
This is definitely one of the best documentaries I’ve seen recently, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely perfect. My main issue with the film is that it feels a little incomplete. Whilst it does a fantastic job at detailing the events of the crime, there’s a huge chunk of time that it skips over in its final act, bringing the film to a far more abrupt end than necessary. Not knowing much of the true events, I was a little frustrated I didn’t get to learn more about this riveting story, and would have gladly watched another half hour or more.
Also, the film isn’t as impartial as I would have liked. Looking to be informed and entertained more than anything else, I was a little hesitant at times due to the way the film sits quite heavily on one side of the fence. That makes for a few undeservingly negative portrayals of various people, and although it definitely helps to give the film a fantastic passion, I don’t think that the film’s bias towards one side over the other was the greatest thing to see.
Overall, however, I was absolutely enthralled by Amanda Knox. An excellent documentary that delivers the facts very well, and then builds on that with fantastic directing throughout, it’s a riveting watch from start to finish, and although it suffers a little due to its bias and a frustrating time jump late on, I was fully engrossed by this movie, and that’s why I’m giving it an 8.1.