The Lifetime original movie Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial has been highly controversial, with both Amanda Knox and Meredith Kercher's families protesting the ripped-from-the-headlines account. So, were their concerns justified?
First of all, despite the reported editing out of a particularly graphic scene, we wouldn't recommend anyone who knew Kercher — or Knox, for that matter — subject themselves to the film, not that they would. The film illustrates all the accounts and theories and there's still one bloody and upsetting shot of Kercher that borders on gratuitous. Indeed, even for the most disinterested viewer, this is hardly a fun watch: we all know what's going to happen, and that we won't get any answers. And the portrayals of Kercher's impending doom and Knox's 24-hour interrogation are stressful and uncomfortable.
All that said, the film does its best to be even-handed. The trial scenes — which make up much of the latter half of the film — seem to be largely faithful to transcripts and reports, and by the end, you really aren't convinced whether Amanda Knox was an amoral sociopath or the victim of railroading. Hayden Panettiere does a good job, too, making Knox feel believable and multifaceted. Yes, we see the notorious lighthearted behavior in the face of tragedy, but also scenes of emotion and anguish.
In the end, it's just a dramatization of things you already knew. It's unlikely to sway public opinion one way or the other, but one can't help wondering: why does this exist? Questions of taste aside, it's too real to be entertaining, and too fake to really teach anyone anything about the facts of the case.