Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Daily Beast’s Barbie Nadeau Weighs The Pros And Cons Of The Lifetime Movie

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Above: Lifetime TV has an office suite in this giant hitech building which Google is presently purchasing]

We doubt if we are going to rate this film very highly. Already there are critical reviews.

And the Massei report shows overwhelming guilt, the grounds for appeal are slim indeed, and the Supreme Court of Cassation has ALREADY accepted that all three were part of the attack.

Barbie Nadeau’s report upon seeing a preview seems to confirm that the film will at least in part blow smoke and mislead the viewing audience by failing to convey those hard facts.

The movie does a commendable job slaloming between guilt and innocence as it stitches together known details of a very complicated case. It doesn’t shy away from controversial facts like how Knox accused Patrick Lumumba of the murder, or just how tough the Perugian police were on the 20-year-old American during her interrogations…. Lifetime lands squarely on the side of reasonable doubt when it comes to Knox’s conviction, but the network also does a fair job showing just why the jury in Perugia found her guilty.

Reasonable doubt? In fact that is a term that applies only to juries who were present in the courtroom the whole time, and in this case the guilty verdict was already unanimous. They had no reasonable doubt.

Sadly, John and Arline Kercher’s worst fears about the movie dwelling upon the graphic violence done to Meredith seem fully justified.

Indeed, the movie features globs of often-gratuitous violence around their daughter’s tragic death. Sure, it is a TV dramatization bent on ratings about a now-legendary murder, but the CSI-style black-and-white autopsy shots and a disturbing scene where Guede watches Meredith choking on her own blood are unsettling, even for those of us who have covered this case from day one. It’s one thing to see the crime scene video and hear testimony about how it might have happened, but it’s quite another to watch someone act it out in gruesome detail.

There seems to be little mention of the million-dollar public relations campaign that has so misled the public, and none at all of the inflammatory anti-prosecution anti-Italy bias of much of the UK and US media. 

Not all is bad. Mr Mignini and his team are shown as “smart, capable investigators caught up in a terribly complicated crime….”. The Knox family are portrayed as “even-tempered and wholly genuine in support of their daughter”. Hayden Pantierre does “an admirable job playing the quirky Seattle native.”

But Amanda Knox herself apparently comes across as vague and someone who “could have simply been in the wrong place doing the wrong things at the wrong time.” We have already remarked in a previous post “We will be curious to see if Lifetime somehow depicts what a sad drug-driven slide into dependency and desperation the seemingly not-quite-right Amanda Knox appeared to be embarked on.”

However Meredith is said to be infectiously played, by Cambridge University graduate Amanda Fernando Stevens (image below), who we believe really did give the classy depiction of Meredith all she could.

Fortunately, Lifetime also focuses a fair amount of attention on Meredith, painting a portrait of a bright and beautiful young woman who was far more serious than her American roommate, but who had an infectious sense of humor and enviable charm. That careful attention to her charisma makes her murder all the more tragic.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 02/17/11 at 01:16 AM in Various hypothesesExcellent reportingMovies on case


I for one will not be watching this film.

Posted by Barry on 02/17/11 at 07:32 AM | #

Neither will I.

Posted by Helder Licht on 02/17/11 at 02:03 PM | #

Ithought Barbie Nadeau was a journalist who believed Knox was guilty ?

Posted by aethelred23 on 02/17/11 at 04:02 PM | #

Hi Aethelred23. Yes Barbie Nadeau explains in her last paragraph what her position is and she mentions her book and her connection with another movie being envisaged. Over on the PMF forum yesterday they were pretty praising of how she handled this review.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 02/17/11 at 04:38 PM | #

Pete, your Post evokes a cascade of stimulating thoughts!

We knew that Nadeau believed that Knox was guilty; her statement that “Lifetime lands squarely on the side of reasonable doubt when it comes to Knox’s conviction…” is infelicitous.

As you say, “Reasonable doubt? ....In this case the guilty verdict was already unanimous. They had no reasonable doubt.”

Therefore landing “squarely on the side of reasonable doubt when it comes to Knox’s conviction…” requires Lifetime to have selectively ignored overwhelming factual evidence that makes “the side of reasonable doubt” an entirely imaginary side.

The Knox-Mellases have ignarrogantly entrapped themselves in National Exceptionalism Combat in which they and Amanda Knox will lose both the Battle and the War.

One thought - the issue of Defamation; its Italian equivalent - Calunnia - seems to include the common-law concepts both of Misrepresentation and of Malice.

The Knox-Mellas’s persistent, repeated, publications of untruths obviously Defame the plaintiffs [Police-Persons - not Prosecutors].

Their Falsehoods also satisfy the U.S. and U.K. definitions of Common-Law Malice - statements communicated to third parties knowing that the statements are False, OR IN RECKLESS DISREGARD OF THEIR TRUTH OR FALSITY.

The malicious slanders here are communicated most-publicly to thousands, even millions, of third parties.

Posted by Cardiol MD on 02/17/11 at 08:49 PM | #

Hi Cardiol. There have been a couple of angry attempted troll posts here to the effect that this libel and slander stuff is all a distraction and we need to just stick to dissecting evidence. That is a misunderstanding of what TJMK has always stood for: righting the WHOLE wrong committed against the many, many people who have had a real problem standing up against the lying onslaught for themselves.   

All of our lawyers are gravitating in the direction you very well describe. It is almost impossible to exaggerate how dangerous this is for the Knox-Mellases and their many rampaging surrogates. It is not only Italian calunnia on a grand scale - malicious false charges made about many dozens to many millions - but also malicious slander under the UK and US definitions. 

It looks like David Marriott could very well be taken down too if he can be implicated in the serial lie-telling as media people tell us he can be. So could Lifetime, despite all the attempts at legal evasions that the TV critic linked to above complains about. So could all those who are running the conspiracy theory websites.

Here are a couple of the remarks made over on the PMF forum by our lawyers and other on-the-ball posters there and as they contemplate this amazingly stupid man-made train-wreck of a situation.


1) It’s clear to me that the Melloxes screwed up and that their lawyers had to have told them they were wrong. That John Follain article was published at least half a year after their little darling slit her housemate’s throat and left her to die.  There is no conceivable way that they didn’t know that they were breaking an Italian law…

2) The facts is, they had Italian lawyers and they would have informed them that libelling the Italian law enforcement officers would have been illegal under Italian law. Yet, that article was only the first of many where Curt, Edda and Chris Mellas accused the police of crimes. It wasn’t simply libel, but a campaign of libel. They only have themselves to blame.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 02/18/11 at 04:09 AM | #

Today’s New York Post: Knox-ed Up: Making case against college-kid killer

That is Linda Stasi the TV critic for the New York Post. Her headline sees the movie making the case against Knox, and she says that although she has never before doubted that Knox was railroaded, this movie has raised some doubts.

One new fact about the film that we didnt know: It shows “Sollecito giving her up to the cops to save his own skin.” Wow! Maybe that is why the Sollecito team threatened to stop the movie by legal means.

Three big mistakes need correction.

1) She wrongly states that Guede was a homeless drug dealer and drifter. He lived most of his life with wealthy foster parents and had a good restaurant job south of Milan. It was the catastrophic collapse of that restaurant that send him into a tailspin. Nevertheless, he had an apartment in Perugia (near Sollecito’s) and there is no hard evidence he dealt drugs

2) “If the Italians get their way, Knox’s parents… won’t even be able to visit their child. ” In fact if Knox’s parents are convicted of calunnia as seems likely, their sentence will be waived as first-time offenders as the Italian system always does. No need for them to go on the lam. They will always be able to visit Amanda.

3) Nobody accuses the prime minister of “anything” in Italy. Italians are very careful in what they claim and 1,000 libel suits succeed every year. Concrete charges have been filed against the prime minster which proves what we have often noted previously. While the system is loaded against prosecutors they sure are tough.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 02/18/11 at 03:48 PM | #

By Storm Roberts (Innai)

Today’s New York Post article, Peter, also says “No wonder her parents want the movie pulled.”

What have I missed?

Posted by Nolongeramember on 02/18/11 at 07:22 PM | #

Hi Innai. Yeah good reason for your sardonic amusement. This is like a Volkswagen full of clowns.

Probably scared of being caught with their hand in the cookie jar, they have been calibrating and re-calibrating their attitude to the movie for months. Chris Mellas has said that he wanted Panettiere to meet with Knox so the portrayal would be authentic, the lawyers said they banned that, Panettiere said it was too far too drive (one hour) and about 50 other things many of them contradictory. 

Our guess, just a guess, is this began life as a joint project between the family and Lifetime, John Kercher spoke out strongly and effectively twice against the PR, the family were momentarily disconcerted, Lifetime downloaded and read the Massei Report, harsh realities of things like evidence and a verdict and big legal risks intruded, and the movie moved to where it is now, universally displeasing to all.

But seriously, what do we know?!

Posted by Peter Quennell on 02/19/11 at 12:38 AM | #
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Or to next entry NY Post Review : Amanda Knox Movie “Offers Almost No Reason To Believe She Was Not Involved”

Or to previous entry More Excellent Examiner Reporting: This Time Profiling Curt Knox And Edda Mellas