When I first heard that there was going to be a new movie called “Amanda Knox” I met it with a healthy dose of skepticism, I had become hardened to what mainstream and tabloid media had produced about this young lady and her Italian friend in the past decade; I had learned not trust the opinions of people who read only headlines.
But I must say I was not only pleasantly surprised by the outcome, I welcomed it gladly like a breath of fresh air. Truth, finally, and that so many people in the commentary “got it” was a relief. It was also a delight to see even mainstream media shocked by how the antagonists acted, they finally saw the arrogance that I knew so well. You see, I am a researcher for the advocacy that helped Amanda and Raffaele correct misinformation in social media, I volunteered to read the “mountain of evidence” against them, along with several others, and then posted my notes online.
I know the “complex” first hand, so McGinn and Blackhurst’s use of “simple” is brilliant.
The guiltless in context with the people guilty of robbing them of their freedom and rights. It evoked a visceral reaction in me that was a surprise, the usual eye-rolling annoyance gave way to white hot anger because the film was so intimate. It brought the antagonists right into my home and, yes, I did yell “FU” at the TV a few times.
Amanda and Raffaele are those people you saw on film, no acting, the real thing. Just two ordinary people who met everyone’s nightmare – duplicitous authorities. I came to know them first through their families, Amanda’s in person and Raffaele’s virtually. I met both young people after their release and my opinion of them, formed while they were in prison, did not change. Those people you see against that stark backdrop are exactly who they say they are, McGinn and Blackhurst captured their personalities perfectly.
They captured the essence of Giuliano Mignini, Valter Biscotti and Nick Pisa as well. It sickened me to watch them preen for the audience, but the very important point I want to make is that the public’s dislike of Pisa, despite his drooling over headlines, is misplaced. Pisa is the tabloid jackal you see, but at least he is honest about it and that authenticity sets him aside from the other antagonists who have cloaked themselves in respectability; wolves in sheep’s clothing.
I also noted that the public largely ignored Mignini this time around, as usual, but paid a little more attention to Guede, progress made. If my opinion matters to you, then kindly pay close attention to Prosecutor Mignini if you have not yet seen this film. To those who have, please watch it again and witness “Amanda Knox” parting the curtain to show you official confirmation bias at work in a justice system.
The stunning arrogance of Guede’s lawyer Biscotti, for example, about being the “better attorney” for the murderer while the uninformed public knows nothing about the Italian fast-track trial system vs. the regular trial system. Can you imagine being found guilty in a court of law without being represented by a lawyer or being able to cross-examine your accuser? Consider the legal plight of Raffaele and Amanda, outside looking in, during Guede’s trials while Biscotti swept their Constitutional rights away.
Giuliano Mignini’s interview was the most telling, he is right that he knows Italian law. So well, in fact, that he used it to pull the wool over the eyes of Raffaele’s well-connected family (including sister the cop) just long enough to force the young man to “have his day in court” as mandated by law. He also pulled the wool over the US Embassy in Italy by not declaring Amanda an official suspect until after her arrest, though she was under surveillance, wiretapped and Perugian authorities were preparing to interrogate her and Raffaele both. Mignini’s signature on the detention forms was inked mere hours before help would arrive for both naïve students, and those papers are the tip of the legal iceberg. Because of the wiretapping Mignini knew his unfettered access to the pair was coming to an end as soon as Amanda’s mother arrived.
I was most surprised to see Mignini’s mantra from court transcripts for the world to see: “Let’s consider.” “Let’s imagine.” “If only there was a video in the room.” Well, that last part is not in the film, only the case file along with many other examples of this so-called professional imagining “what may have happened.” His penchant to “make up dialogue” for Meredith and Amanda was also present and this man has made up many disgusting things; that is without question.
Then there is the prosecutor’s denial of knowing how Lumumba’s name was fed to Amanda during the interrogation in contrast to his confirmed presence just outside the room; while he was engaged in advising the police. Mignini is provably part of the more than a dozen Perugian law enforcement members present while she was abused, broken, and forced to sign away her life in a foreign language. It is heartbreaking to see the part of the film when Amanda finally realized that nothing she said mattered to him, all that mattered was his opinion.
So Mignini knows intimately how Lumumba’s name was introduced and his denial of that fact in this film is pure gold.
You see the barest hint of his Madonna/Whore Complex in the film as well, osmotic evaluation of the legal dossier reveals a dirty old man entertaining the court with the latest script from his “soap opera.” The scared foreign kid is “crazy,” the party-animal British Girls are “proper,” and the murder victim is “virginal.” Satan, the Mason’s, Reefer Madness, Catfights, Guede’s Poop, it’s all there. The man in the mirror is an arrogant official, a devil some would say, who lied to the victim’s family and accused innocent people of a crime he concocted in his own head.
McGinn and Blackhurst did a great job of taking a complex issue and simplifying it in ninety minutes. I invite you to take that time, kickback with a cocktail in the comfort of your own home and see how easy it is for an authority to scoop kids right off the street. Amanda believes the public thinks she is a monster, but the most frightening monsters are the powerful ones pulling strings behind our backs.
Turn away from Amanda and Raffaele; and see the monster that stalked them. Giuliano Mignini.