Some of the best documentaries of all time -- hell, some of the best documentaries you can only watch on Netflix -- transcend journalism to become advocacy, weaponizing the truth for a cause or wronged individual. Errol Morris' classic true crime doc The Thin Blue Line proved so convincing in its argument against a murder charge, a Texas judged overturned the accused's life sentence. With Roger & Me and beyond, Michael Moore made a career out of sticking his nose in other people's business. Netflix's own Virunga snuck cameras into a Congo national park where a British oil company allegedly killed endangered gorillas to make room for drilling, and the footage was damning. Documentaries can be fair and balanced, but it's not a given.
Netflix's new doc Amanda Knox is a quagmire, seeming to show two sides of a story that, at this point, deserves the hard stance. In 2007, Italian police discovered the slain body of British college student Meredith Kercher. Officials pinned the murder on 20-year-old American Amanda Knox -- and the tabloids went wild. After two years of deliberations and DNA evidence that suggested she wasn't the culprit, Italian courts sentenced Knox to 26 years in prison. Then she was acquitted. Then she was convicted again. Then she was acquitted again. The media storm never let up, and Knox remains under bizarre scrutiny. Netflix isn't ready to end the conversation -- at least not in marketing the movie to potential viewers.