Despite legal threats and discontent from both the Kercher and Knox families, Lifetime went ahead last night and aired the salacious made-for-TV movie Amanda Knox: Murder Trial in Italy. The small screen flick tells the story of British student Meredith Kercher's murder in November 2007, and the subsequent trial of her roommate, Amanda Knox, and Knox's boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito.
When I tuned in last night, I have to admit I felt like I was stealing a glimpse at a bad car accident (something I really try my damnedest never to do). I admit the story, tragic and disturbing as it is, is intriguing ... mesmerizing. There's a reason that press in Italy, England, and all over the world has been captivated by the murder and trial.
But why, Lifetime, why did you have to go and make a TV movie about this horrific incident so soon? I know there was a similar movie about Scott Peterson (who could forget Superman Dean Cain as the convicted murderer?) and another about O.J. Simpson. Both aired while the trials were still in progress, much like the situation here.
But that doesn't make it okay.
First of all, its airing could damage Knox's appeal. Even though Knox and Sollecito were convicted and sentenced to 26 years and 25 years respectively, their guilt is still up in the air. They're both appealing their sentences, and the court is re-examining DNA evidence used to convict them. The crime scene was generally devoid of their DNA. To me, that is extremely solid proof of their innocence.
But, the general consensus among viewers seems to be that the TV movie made the couple out to be guilty, and the defense lawyers are dismayed that the flick will further skew the already manipulated public opinion. I see their point. I mean, it's pathetic that public opinion, paparazzi shots, and trumped-up tabloid stories could possibly trump concrete evidence and proof in a trial, but media is said to have a HUGE influence on the Italian justice system.
Secondly, haven't the families of the victim and accused been through enough already?! As if it weren't bad enough that the Kercher family must still contend with the public's appetite for details about the vicious murder of their daughter or that the Knox family is still fighting to get their name cleared and Amanda out of jail ... Now, they have no choice while thousands watch a trashy movie depicting the brutal murder. (Even though a scene of Knox participating in the fatal stabbing was pulled from the final cut, there are still many distressing scenes filled with violence and blood.)
I read that Knox got dizzy and started to hyperventilate when she heard that this movie would be airing. Can you imagine? For over three years now, she's been portrayed as a slutty murderess monster in the media -- this must feel like the last straw. Oh, and of course, it doesn't help that she's been portrayed by dumb ass, insensitive Hayden Panettiere, who can't make up her mind about Knox's innocence or guilt and is telling the press that she jumped up and down when she got the role in the "riveting story ... play[ing] somebody who is going through this, an actual person!" (Like. Oh-em-gee!)
Ugh, it's like the tragic slaying of one girl has now morphed into a beastly, never-ending three-ring circus where we're the salivating, grotesque, ogling crowd. When will we finally give these families the respect they deserve and put this story to rest? I have a nauseating feeling that given our society's fascination with murder, it won't be until long after the book is closed on this trial -- regardless of the verdict.
Do you think the film is disrespectful to the Kercher and Knox families?
Image via MyLifetime.com