TIFF: Amanda Knox

It’s so great to be back at the Toronto International Film Festival ! I felt nostalgic the moment I stepped off the train. The rushed breakfasts, the possibility of a close encounter with your favourite celebrity, the feeling that I’m finally starting to know my way around this once intimidating city, and the hope of catching one of the year’s best films keep me coming back every year. And, for the first time, I get to share the experience with my parents. So why am I tempted to just skip my next movie and go to bed early?

Partly, it’s because I woke up at 4 a.m. yesterday to catch my train and got back to my hotel at 2:30 a.m. this morning after a Midnight Madness screening. Partly, it’s because I’ve been catching four screenings a day since I got here. Both good reasons I think for me to be getting close to early TIFF fatigue but Amanda Knox, which just had its world premiere at the Festival, is another big reason why I couldn’t sleep last night.

Though it was apparently international news back in 2007, I really don’t remember Knox’s story. Amanda Knox was in her early twenties when she was arrested and convicted of murdering her roommate while vacationing in Italy. This wonderful documentary follows her road to exoneration over a period of several years.

What’s unsettling about this film is what apparently captivated the media nearly a decade ago. It’s Amanda. Young, pretty, charismatic, and full of life, she doesn’t look or sound like she’d be capable of such a heinous crime. So when she looks directly into the camera and calmly says, “Either I’m a psychopath in sheep’s clothing, or I’m you,” I get the shivers.

As a true crime documentary, Amanda Knox is every bit as gripping as Netflix’s Making a Murderer. But, despite having only a fraction of the running time with which to do it, it manages to give a more balanced look at the case than the controversially one-sided Netflix phenomenon.  Knox and her Italian now ex-boyfriend and co-defendent are interviewed extensively, as is the Italian homicide detective that maintains their guilt to this day. You’re bound to like and trust some of the interviewees more than others but, according to the filmmakers, each of them have seen the film and every one of them feels that they have been represented fairly.

I still don’t know what happened that night nine years ago. Maybe that’s why the police, media, and public turned on Amanda so quickly. Not knowing is scary. It keeps us up at night (or, in my case, last night). The good news is that, even if you couldn’t make it to Toronto this year, you’ll get a chance to decide for yourself. Amanda Knox will be on Netflix later this month.

 

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35 thoughts on “TIFF: Amanda Knox

  1. reocochran

    Have a wonderful time there and cannot wait to “read all about it!” 😉
    I was so pleased that my Entertainment Weekly has now been covering unique films and film festivals. I feel I can read yours and trust your responses. Take care and enjoy!

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  2. ridicuryder

    Hey Matt,

    So fucking cool that you went to TIFF by train! I’m in Ontario in October…must remember to take a train somewhere. 🙂

    Not knowing can be really great if we can stand it calmly (usually victims families can’t). I’m looking forward to seeing Amanda Knox, I gotta cop to a bias that she’s innocent (HeHe) because she’s so pretty. Also, Italian Detectives nailed Christ to the wall…they can be a little sloppy at times.

    Cheers,
    RR

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    1. Matt Post author

      I assume she’s innocent to be honest, given that the Italian police really haven’t been able to produce a single piece of compelling evidence that I know of. It really seems mostly based on prejudice.

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  3. Lorna Cunningham-Rushton

    Reading the last part of this gave me the shivers. I think I’ll let that help me to avoid the film, even though it is fascinating. Glad you’re having a good, if exhausting, time.

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. Liz A.

    I remember hearing snippets of this, but I largely tuned it out. I don’t know, something about the whole thing just didn’t rivet me like it did much of the media. I still know little to nothing about the whole thing.

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  5. Bun Karyudo

    I remember the case pretty well. There was some suspicion that the media in various countries made up their minds early on who they thought was innocent or guilty based on the nationality of the individuals involved.

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  6. You're Being Watched (@crimewatch24736)

    The evidence against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito is overwhelming. They gave completely different accounts of where they were, who they were with and what they were doing on the night of the murder. Neither Knox nor Sollecito have credible alibis despite three attempts each. All the other people who were questioned had one credible alibi that could be verified. Innocent people don’t give multiple conflicting alibis and lie repeatedly to the police.

    The DNA didn’t miraculously deposit itself in the most incriminating of places.

    An abundant amount of Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA was found on Meredith’s bra clasp. His DNA was identified by two separate DNA tests. Of the 17 loci tested in the sample, Sollecito’s profile matched 17 out of 17. Professor Novelli pointed out there’s more likelihood of meteorite striking the courtroom in Perguia than there is of the bra clasp being contaminated by dust.

    According to Sollecito’s forensic expert, Professor Vinci and Luciano Garofano, Knox’s DNA was also on Meredith’s bra.

    Amanda Knox’s DNA was found on the handle of the double DNA knife and a number of independent forensic experts – Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni, Dr. Renato Biondo, Professor Giuesppe Novelli, Professor Francesca Torricelli, Luciano Garofano, Elizabeth Johnson and Greg Hampikian – have all confirmed that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade. Sollecito knew that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade which is why he lied about accidentally pricking her hand whilst cooking.

    According to the prosecution’s experts, there were five instances of Knox’s DNA or blood mixed with Meredith’s blood in three different locations in the cottage. Even Amanda Knox’s lawyers conceded that her blood had mingled with Meredith’s blood. In other words, Meredith and Amanda Knox were both bleeding at the same time.

    Knox tracked Meredith’s blood into the bathroom, the hallway, her room and Filomena’s room, where the break-in was staged. Knox’s DNA and Meredith’s blood was found mixed together in Filomena’s room, in a bare bloody footprint in the hallway and in three places in the bathroom.

    Rudy Guede’s bloody footprints led straight out of Meredith’s room and out of the house. This means that he didn’t stage the break-in in Filomena’s room or go into the blood-spattered bathroom after Meredith had been stabbed.

    The bloody footprint on the blue bathmat in the bathroom matched the precise characteristics of Sollecito’s foot, but couldn’t possibly belong to Guede. Knox’s and Sollecito’s bare bloody footprints were revealed by Luminol in the hallway.

    It’s not a coincidence that the three people – Knox, Sollecito and Guede – who kept telling the police a pack of lies are all implicated by the DNA and forensic evidence.

    Amanda Knox voluntarily admitted that she was involved in Meredith’s murder in her handwritten note to the police on 6 November 2007. After she was informed that Sollecito was no longer providing her with an alibi, she stated on at least four separate occasions that she was at the cottage when Meredith was killed. At the trial, Sollecito refused to corroborate Knox’s alibi that she was at his apartment.

    Knox accused an innocent man, Diya Lumumba, of murdering Meredith despite the fact she knew he was completely innocent. She didn’t recant her false and malicious allegation against Lumumba the whole time he was in prison. She acknowledged that it was her fault that Lumumba was in prison in an intercepted conversation with her mother on 10 November 2007.

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    1. Matt Post author

      Oh my god, you know this case well. It gives me the chills to see it all layer out like that. What’s unsettling is how these 3 random people would get together and kill this girl. It seems like the 3 killers barely knew each other.

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  7. badblokebob

    It’ll be interesting to see all the reactions to this when it’s widely available. My impression of the social media response during all the various trials was that it very much felt like Americans were backing “their girl” while Brits thought she was guilty, I guess for similar nationality reasons. That’s a generalisation, I’m sure, and I can’t speak to other countries’ reactions at all, but still, it’ll be interesting to see if such lines are maintained/exist at all now.

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      1. mikeladano

        Her case coincided with a brief period of me being fascinated with the English tabloids. And she was daily fodder for them. I started out thinking “Yeah she’s guilty” but then I realised, hey, the British aren’t covering the whole story.

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  8. Birgit

    This documentary sounds excellent even if disturbing. I know the States made a big deal when she came home and thought she was railroaded. I wonder if she would have received this much sympathy is she wasn’t so pretty and charming. I almost feel that charming is not a good trait since one has to consciously be charming and it is usually to get something they want. I always say, Hitler was charming.

    Liked by 1 person

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  9. Brittani

    I remember this case well, I always thought Amanda was guilty, at the time because of how she acted post murder, but I understand more now that people process things different ways. Does the doc interview anyone from Meredith’s family? That’s something I felt was so lost.

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    1. Matt Post author

      Only in archival footage. They interview Amanda and her co-defendant, the Italian cop who is still sure they’re guilty, a sleazy British tabloid journalist who covered the whole thing, and some DNA experts. I would have been interested in hearing what the family had to say, at least to provide some context to make sure the victim doesn’t get forgotten in all this.

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  10. Pingback: TIFF 2016: Snowden | ASSHOLES WATCHING MOVIES

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