The trailer for The Face of an Angel, an adaptation of the book by Barbie Latza Nardeau called Angel Face about the Amanda Knox saga, is out and it is as salacious and exploitative as any slapdash Lifetime movie about a recent murder trial except it features some pretty notable talent like Daniel Bruhl, Cara Delevingne, and Kate Beckinsale.
The movie, currently in preproduction, centers on a journalist (Beckinsale) and a filmmaker (Bruhl) covering Knox's 2009 trial for the 2007 murder of her British roommate Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy. Cara Delevinge plays Bruhl's love interest, and the names of the actresses playing Kercher and Knox have been tastefully (I guess) omitted from the film's publicity.
The worldwide rights are being handled by the UK film company Westend Films, and it's no secret that the perception of the Knox trial (and its many reversals) is very different in the US (i.e. more sympathetic) than it is in the UK. (Nationalism is alive and thriving, people.) The Face of an Angel is already drawing criticism for its salaciousness, specifically from writer Candace Dempsey, whose book about the Knox trial, Murder in Italy, is way more sympathetic to Knox than Face of Angel.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Dempsey said she was pretty shocked that the BBC would fork over money to let director Michael Winterbottom make what appears to be a particularly sophisticated Lifetime true-crime flick:
I'm shocked that BBC Films would help fund a movie so prejudicial. So much for fairness and neutrality. They are running a salacious trailer, complete with sex on the train — which, if it happened, was before the murder.
Winterbottom wants to have it both ways. The film's not about Amanda, but it is about Amanda. It's not about guilt or innocence, but it makes Amanda look at guilty as possible.
Based on the trailer, the movie will play up the slut-shaming angle (though, to be fair, Bruhl's character goes all progressive on a gossiping journalist by calmly explaining that having casual sex isn't a stepping stone to murder).