Despite many melodramatic editing choices, the film offers unparalleled access to its subjects
Blackhurst and McGinn started working on this documentary in 2011. After two-plus years of building trust with Knox, they convinced her to tell her story on camera. She comes across as extremely self-aware -- after all, she did spend years isolated from society, probably thinking about how she'd answer such questions -- maintaining her innocence but courting shock value by wondering aloud, "If I am guilty, it means that I am the ultimate figure to fear, because I'm not the obvious one."
Next, Sollecito agreed to talk, as did Mignini, the man who ordered their arrest. The fact that the directors got access to all three parties is huge, and with the additions of a journalist, a pair of DNA experts, and Guede's lawyer, you've got a well-rounded doc. Through Blackhurst and McGinn's lens, we're even privy to the moment Knox learns that she is finally free -- they were in her home on the day the Supreme Court verdict was announced. When we watch Knox accept a congratulatory phone call from Sollecito, you realize that though they only spent five days together as a couple prior to Kercher's murder, they are forever bonded by being the only two people on the planet who endured eight years of flip-flopping verdicts for a crime.
The film isn't perfect: the musical choices are heavy-handed (tango beats when we're told why this was such a scintillating story, violins-under-duress when Kercher's final minutes are described), as are the visual metaphors. Mignini visits a church to remind us that true judgment happens at the pearly gates, and we last see Knox looking out onto open water -- her journey continues, and she will proceed with caution against life's waves.
And Blackhurst and McGinn's subjects will no doubt cringe at a few match-ups made in the editing room: Knox -- who is not the person currently in jail for Kercher's death -- is introduced in a voice-over that accompanies images of the victim's blood smeared on the floor; journalist Nick Pisa's comparison between penning a front-page story and having sex abruptly ends with footage of the flower-strewn van carrying Kercher's coffin to her funeral.
Ultimately, though, the film organizes the case's convoluted details in a manner that makes them easy to parse, even for those of us who didn't follow the trials and appeals closely in real time.