Review of the Netflix Film ‘Amanda Knox’ 2016

The Truth Hides its Face

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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, Rod Blackhurst and Brian McGinn, and producer, Stephen Robert Morse, claim they gave it the title of ‘Amanda Knox’ 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 the ‘anarchist, anti-authority’ Amanda Knox, victimising her because he considered her canoodling with her Italian boyfriend outside of the murder cottage, immoral.

The truth hides its face in this documentary.  The directors and producer Stephen Robert Morse conceal from the viewer that they were active supporters and proponents of the ‘Friends of Amanda Knox’ and David Marriott PR campaign, to ‘Free Amanda Knox’, Blackhurst and Morse ‘tweeting’ profusely to this effect from as early as 2010, with Morse writing articles attacking Nick Pisa, the Italian prosecution and ‘the “hater”/”guilter trolls” who expressed their suspicions of the pair.

The credits at the end of the film lists numerous names of ardent ‘Free Amanda Knox’ advocates, including Nina Burleigh, the initiator of the ‘Rudy is a drifter, petty thief, burglar, drug dealer’ soundbite, picked up by almost all of the press, none of it substantiated, Doug Preston, who had a grudge against Mignini because of the acrimonious ‘Monster of Florence Affair’ which had him leaving Italy unceremoniously, run out of town, and seething.  The credits include Amanda’s own family.

rodblackhurst

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.  My notes that follow the review, lists some of the lies and the omissions perpetrated by the documentary.

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 likeable

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 have a very young looking Amanda joking into the camera and old black and white pictures of Raffaele in his choir boy robes with his hands in pious prayer.  Thus, 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.

You will see from my list below of 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 told that Rudy’s biological signatures are all over the scene, and 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.  In addition, the Raff circle (in glowing white, like driven snow) is some distance away from the body, when in fact, the bra clasp with a strong DNA profile (17 alleles) of Raff was found under the body, under a sheet, and as photographed by the forensic police.  The filmmakers have attempted to obscure this physical fact.  It could be they have chosen the spot it was collected on Day 42, instead, kicked under a rug.

meme-film-biological-spots

Most people would be very surprised to learn there were only about four markers found for Rudy, compared to at least five for Amanda, whose DNA mixed with Meredith’s, led police to believe she had bled the same time.  This is because white blood cells are a rich source of DNA and in one mixed sample, in the bathroom, Amanda’s DNA is more prolific than Meredith’s, her DNA presumed to be from her blood, given the colour of the stain the DNA was extracted from.

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, she wearing her pristine scientist white coat, sitting at her scientific desk, and he assuming an air of authority, as the pair proclaim the DNA of the bra clasp and the knife (remember, the ‘only’ two ‘crucial’ pieces of evidence against the pair) 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 Vecchiotti and Conti was later expunged by the Supreme Court and Vecchiotti and Conti heavily criticised as, ‘intellectually dishonest’.

They fail to mention that Vecchiotti and Conti did not appear to keep up a professional ‘independent expert witness’ integrity at the hearing.  They were seen heading straight for Raffaele’s legal team, shaking hands with them, and observed dining at a wine bar.  The prosecution lodged a complaint against Maori, Raffeale’s lawyer, about this perceived breach of legal ethics

vandc

Video screen capture of Vecchiotti and Conti familiarity with Sollecito’s Defence at the Appeal Hearing

The other key thing the film makers are careful not to draw the audience’s attention to is that Carla Vecchiotti was found Guilty of professional misconduct, of negligence, in the Olgiata criminal case .  [See ‘sources, 4’, below]

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 proven’.  At no time did the Supreme Court declare the pair ‘innocent’, yet the filmmakers constantly claim they were.

In the film Amanda states, of Rudy, ‘He is a burglar who has burgled many times, and he came to my house to burgle’.

Shoot to ‘rogue red top hack’, Nick Pisa, ‘We weren’t interested in Rudy, the story was Amanda.’

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’.  Indeed, many reviewers and ‘tweeters’ have reviled Nick Pisa, in particular.

We are informed the convictions were overturned thanks to the ‘flawed investigation’ and because of media pressure.  However, media reporting of live cases whilst legally restricted in the UK and the USA, is not in Italy.  There is no law in Italy that prevents ‘media leaks’, thus the Supreme Court does not have the jurisdiction to reach such a verdict as there is no legislation against it.  Nick Pisa, in effect, did nothing legally wrong.

Many reviewers believe the film to be ‘about a miscarriage of justice’, but the fact is the verdict given was not ‘miscarriage of justice’, i.e., ‘in the public interest’, it was ‘insufficent evdience’.

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 Reality

The real life reality, as usual is very different from the idealised Disney vision, as set out by Blackhurst and MGinn, and the argument is that the filmmakers have perpetrated a fraud on the viewing public by concealing their vested interest in portraying Amanda and Raffaele as victims of injustice, whether it’s true or not, as the facts and the evidence points otherwise.

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.

———–

Netflix notes:

 Lies and omissions of ‘Amanda Knox’ 2016 (film)

Lie: claims after ‘police broke down door’ (lie) they were told Meredith had had her throat slit and there was blood everywhere, whereupon the camera cuts to Amanda appearing to be comforted by Raffaele rubbing her arm (Message to viewer: she had just been told the awful news.) Truth is, she and Raffaele did not see the murder room, she was not told by the police these details, she herself brought it up at the Questura. The pair claimed Luca told them in the car (*after* the kissing scene), Luca said he only knew ‘because Battistelli made a cut throat motion with his hand’. –  It hardly explains Amanda’s prior knowledge of the crime scene.

 

Bear in mind, in that kissing scene, Amanda was known to have earlier  been carting a mop back and forth, visited a store to browse bleach and the pair had been listening to grunge rock at 5:30 am. None of this is mentioned.

Lie – claims she ‘stayed home and went to cottage next morning’ – phone records show she was near cottage when she read Patrick text.

Lie – refers to herself as a ‘beautiful blonde American’ – self praise and all that.  This recalls the blond hair found in Mez’ hand, across the top of her bag and again, in her vagina.

Embellishment:  Amanda says she saw ‘Patrick in brown leather jacket’, quote: ‘ I thought I was remembering he had killed her’.

Omission: in scene where she says, ‘there was my Mom’ ((34:00) in an audio of a prison visit, Amanda omits to mention she rang up her Mom for the first time since she left Seattle, just *before* the door was broken down, and then lied to the police and her Mom about it.

Omission: Amanda didn’t mention she told cops ‘Meredith’s door is always locked’ and appeared calm, contrary to her email home to 25 people, wherein she claims to have banged the door and shouted Meredith’s name.

Lie: she reiterates she was with Raffaele, when even he said she went out.

There’s the HIV lie, via Nick Pisa. She wasn’t told she had HIV at all, as confirmed by self in own hand.

Manipulation: lots of baby pics of Raffaele as an angelic choir boy, but no mention of teacher and parental concerns about his viewing habits, drugged out behaviour, weird messages on social media, and knife collection fetish.

Manipulation: they used a diagram showing Rudy’s forensic evidence ‘spots’ in eight places, with Raffaele’s only in one. Omission: omitted Amanda’s forensic evidence spots, omitted Raffaele’s presumed footprints in luminol and and on the bathmat.

Manipulation: emphasis on Rudy ‘covered in blood’, his quote, ‘Amanda had nothing to do with it’.

At the time, it was within the interest of each perp to cover for the other.  Likewise, Amanda did not name Rudy, but covered for him, as decreed by the final Marasca Supreme Court.

 Omitted to mention court finding there was more than one perp, and that Raffaele refused to testify at all.

 Manipulation: claimed bra clasp and knife DNA was ‘crucial to the evidence’ more than once. Gave viewer impression this was the only evidence, which they then demolish by enter: Conti and Vechiotti. No mention at all that Conti and Vecchiotti were excoriated by Chiefi Supreme Court and called ‘intellectually dishonest’.  The Hellmann Court to whom they reported was completely expunged and ordered to be looked at again, using a completely different Appeal Court Judge (Nencini Court). Vecchiotti has since been convicted of misconduct in another case.

Lie; Classic quote by Stefano Conti: ‘The crime scene must be kept sterile’.

A crime scene is rarely sterile, happening in people’s every day homes. Amanda and Raffaele got people to tramp all over the crime scene. The bra clasp was under the body, under a sheet, so not accessible to forensics team, who had to make way for Lalli, without disturbing the body.

Lie: Conti says the forensics team was in ‘total chaos’.

Logical Fallacy: from Conti & Vecchiotti – heavily criticised by the courts –  the film moves on to the conclusion, the knife DNA and bra clasp DNA is “inconclusive”, therefore the case against the pair collapses (strawman). Omission: no mention of any of the other evidence. In particular, the luminol and Amanda’s and Mez’ mixed DNA.

 Lie: Amanda states Rudy was a burglar who burgled many places and ‘he burgled my home.”

As Raff said to the police when he got round to calling them, ‘Nothing has been taken’.

Like: I liked Mignini’s comment, “I don’t think this is very fair” re the claim ‘Rudy did it alone’.

Also Stefanoni was well aware of the RSU contamination levels, 30 in Italy 50 in the US. It’s absurd for Vecchiotti and Conti to claim Stefanoni did not take this into account. She helped identify thousands of tsunami victims in 2004 by DNA analysis.

Lie: the film celebrates Hellmann acquitting the pair (and this is where the film ends, with the aftermath added on as brief written narrative across the screen, and shot of AK jumping up and down after Marasca Court’s verdict of acquittal of the pair). It fails to mention Hellmann’s verdict was expunged.

It describes, quote, Amanda’s arrival at Tacoma Airport, as ‘a crush of well wishers’. Lie/Omission: The US newsreader enthusiases about Amanda arriving at Tacoma-Seattle Airport to crowds (lie), yet the only person in the photo (omitted to mention) is one David Marriott, her publicist, whom Curt Knox hired within two days of her arrest.

film-david-marriott

It quotes Marasca as giving ‘stunning flaws and increased media pressure’. Problem is, there is no law in Italy against the press speculating on cases not yet tried, unlike in the UK. Thus Marasca did not have the jurisdiction to make such a verdict.  No law against it, means there is no jursisdiction (i.e., no legal power to judge on it).

It concludes they were ‘exonerated’, reiterates “evidence still points to guilt of Rudy” (there is no mention of the Marasca Court’s criticisms of Amanda and Raffaele) and that the police and cops should ‘own their faults’.

Omission: It states Raffaele ‘now runs his own internet company’ – fails to state this business is in catering for the dead.

Sources:

http://www.themurderofmeredithkercher.com

http://truejustice.org/ee/index.php

http://www.perugiamurderfile.net/

  1. Barbie Nadeau in Angel Face: “Concern that the independent experts weren’t so independent after all spread quickly after several journalists saw Vecchiotti with Raffaele’s lawyer Luca Maori in the courthouse halls and coffee bars of Perugia. Curious, too, was the fact that the Vecchiotti-Conti report cited more American forensic standards than Italian ones, and that many of these had also been quoted by the Friends of Amanda.”
  2. @Machiavelli_Aki has tweeted the sentence, issued last week, in a civil case brought against Pascali, Vechiotti (and another dottore).  The three of them were found guilty of negligence, and grave professional misconduct, and ordered to pay damages and all costs.  The case under consideration arose from the forensic ‘investigations’ into the Olgiata case.

from: http://www.perugiamurderfile.net/

3. From Macchiavelli:  The judgment against Carla Vecchiotti.

vecchiotti-misconduct

4. Many thanks to Nell of www.perugia for wiki link, below.

crime dell’Olgiata

The Olgiata crime was a murder took place on July 10 , 1991 in a villa of ‘ Olgiata , exclusive area located north of Rome, whose victim was a noblewoman, the forty-Countess Alberica Filo della Torre.

The case remained unsolved for twenty years [1] , mainly because of the poor accuracy of the investigation [2] .

After almost twenty years, in 2011 , DNA testing has identified the culprit in Manuel Winston, a Filipino maids, former employee of the family, who then confessed to the incident on 1 April 2011 [3] . The quantity and confession made sequel sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment, imposed on November 14 following and confirmed on 9 October 2012 .

Google translation: “The Civil Court of Rome by judgment of 21.4.2016 sentenced at first instance ex officio technical consultants Pascali Vicenzo Lorenzo, Arbarello Paul and Vecchiotti Carla for negligence in the performance of examinations of Outdated exhibits about the murder of the Countess, dismissing more than 150 thousand euro compensation awarded, on request the next Countess Alberica Filo Foundation joint Tower, in order to be used in charitable activities.”

 

 

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One Response to “Review of the Netflix Film ‘Amanda Knox’ 2016”

  1. Netflix Review: The Italian Job: The Great DNA Sting | KrissyG1's Blog Says:

    […] I have previously written a review about the Netflix film, ‘Amanda Knox’ [2016], see here: https://krissyg1.com/2016/10/01/review-of-the-netflix-film-amanda-knox-2016/ […]

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