What is real and made up in the Matt Damon movie.
If you’ve heard of Still water, a new movie that opened this weekend is probably that it’s loosely based on the events of the Amanda Knox affair—Knox herself wishes she had been left out of this– and that it stars Matt Damon. These two facts may initially seem in conflict with each other: I don’t think Damon would make a casting director’s wishlist for the role of a student accused of killing her roommate, given that he is both a man and that he is 50 years old. old. (Won’t hunt anymore!) Indeed, instead of focusing on the student in such a scenario, Still water focuses on his father, and that’s Damon’s character. This choice is the first big telltale that the film isn’t a simple adaptation of real events, but it doesn’t end there. The differences between the case of Knox and Still water in depth – here is an inventory of the most important points where real life and fiction diverge, including some spoilers if you haven’t seen the movie.
Amanda Knox is originally from Seattle, where she came from a middle class family and attended the University of Washington. Her parents divorced when she was a child and both remarried. Still water gives Allison Baker (played by Abigail Breslin) a less stable and therefore more dramatic backstory: she is poor, originally from rural Oklahoma, and was mainly raised by her grandmother because her mother committed suicide and his father, Bill (that’s Damon), had substance abuse and legal issues.
Knox’s father Curt Knox, who worked in finance, spoke to the media about his daughter’s case, but he was not a cape and dagger figure and his only lifeline, so Bill Baker’s character. is essentially a fabric invention. Again, the additional details about his past add to the drama: Bill is a high school dropout who works on oil rigs, but when we meet him he was recently laid off and worked shift work in construction and construction. cleaning up tornadoes to get by. . It’s a bit of a stereotype of the heart: he is a man of few words (and when he speaks, he says a lot “madam”). He wears a baseball cap and jeans all over, prays before meals, has an eagle tattoo on his arm, owns a gun, and speaks emphatically only English, although he has spent a lot of time in Europe in connection with the case of his daughter. While it all seems to be screaming “a Trump supporter,” the film avoids stating the character’s political views: when another character asks him who he voted for in the US presidential election, he says he didn’t. did not vote at all, because he is a criminal. Bill and his daughter usually don’t disagree, but due to his unreliability over the years, she doesn’t trust him.
In November 2007, Meredith Kercher’s body was discovered in her apartment in Perugia, Italy. Kercher had been on an exchange from a university in his native England to study there this fall and was living with another exchange student, Amanda Knox, an American. Knox was ultimately charged with the murder, along with her then-boyfriend, an Italian student named Raffaele Sollecito, and Rudy Guede, a local man who knew a man Kercher was dating.
Still water replaces Perugia with Marseille, France, where American student Allison was charged with the murder of Lina, a young woman of Arab descent with whom Allison was living and having a romantic relationship at the time of her death.
Stereotypes and tabloid accusations
Knox garnered enormous media attention around the world: She was dubbed a femme fatale and dubbed “Foxy Knoxy,” and all manner of wacky theories were advanced during the frenzy that followed, such as the one that the murder was part of. one of them and that of Sollecito. drug-fueled sex games. Echoing how the tabloids were wildly speculating on Knox’s sex life, in Still water, it is implied that the media have captured Allison and Lina’s same-sex relationship as a dirty detail. There is an additional tension in Allison’s nationality: although she does not come from a wealthy family, she is considered privileged because she is a white American college student.
The majority of media attention has been focused on Knox and Sollecito in the case of Italy, but a few other notable people have been investigated. When Knox was first questioned by police about the case, she implicated Patrick Lumumba, her boss at a bar where she worked part-time. He was arrested, but was released soon after, and Knox blamed the fingering for manipulation by Italian authorities. More importantly, Guede was arrested as a potential subject a few weeks after the murder. Guede fled to Germany after the body was found, but was extradited to Italy.
In Still water, Allison says that the night Lina was murdered, she drank with a man named Akim, who then stole Allison’s purse and killed Lina. At the start of the film, Akim was never found, but Allison believes that tracking him down and testing his DNA might exonerate him. In both cases, a foreign white woman accusing a non-white man of the crime heightens tensions; in the film, many doubt Akim exists.
Trial and prison sentence
In Knox and Sollecito’s first trial in 2009, they were convicted of murder and sexual violence, among other charges, and sentenced to 26 and 25 years respectively. They won an appeal in 2011 and were released after spending four years in prison. The legal saga was still not over: in 2013, an Italian court overturned the acquittal. They were cleared again, apparently once and for all, in 2015. Guede, whose fingerprints and DNA were found at the crime scene, opted for a fast-track trial and was convicted in 2008. He was sentenced to death. initially given a 30-year sentence, but it was reduced over time, and he was finally released in 2020 and said he could complete his sentence through community service. Guede is now the only person convicted of the murder.
In the movie, a gravestone places Lina’s death in 2014, and when we meet her, Allison has been in jail for five years, with four more to serve. It’s clear that she has also been the subject of an appeal process, because when Bill consults with Allison’s attorney about a potential new lead involving Akim, she urges the bakers to drop her and to make peace with the pain. Bill seeks to locate Akim because there was unidentified DNA at the scene of Lina’s murder, an echo of other evidence in the Knox case.
Support their daughters
The Knox family initially used airline miles, vacations, and sick leave to find a way for at least one family member to be in Italy to be with Amanda and attend her trial whenever possible, and he there were times they lived there during stretches. Paying for living conditions as well as her legal fees left her family in dire financial straits. Amanda’s parents also had their own run-ins with the law in Italy: at one point, Amanda’s mother and father were charged with slander for allegedly police mistreating their daughter while questioning her. on the murder of Kercher.
Like the Knoxes, Bill Baker frequently visits his daughter in prison in Marseille, so much so that the staff at the hotel where he is staying know him well. Over the course of the film, he ends up settling permanently in Marseille for a time. Allison’s grandmother is in poor health and unable to visit her, so Bill is all she has. It’s clear Allison’s case has put a strain on their already cramped family. In the movie, it is mentioned that Bill once hit a reporter because of his frustration with the case and the way his daughter was being treated.
Time in prison
While Amanda Knox was in prison, she dealt with various ways, which she discussed in her 2013 memoir :, and she helped her fellow inmates by writing and translating for them.
We know less about how Allison spent her time in prison, but it turns out she used to work in the library and no longer does at the start of the events of the film. It is not known if she worked to improve her French in prison or if she entered it with a good command of the language, but she can read and write in the language, and by the time she gets a day of parole in get out of jail, his French is good enough to impress the woman Bill lives with and her daughter.
Knox said she had considered suicide in prison; in the movie, Allison tries to hang herself after day parole.
Fall in love with a local hot woman
There is no public record of Curt Knox falling in love with a hot local woman while spending time in Italy to visit and support his daughter during her trial. In contrast, much of the plot of Still water is devoted to meeting Bill Baker and his love for a hot local woman while staying in Marseille for his daughter and her case.
After a four-year ordeal in Italy, upon her release from prison, Amanda Knox was greeted as a hero in the United States in 2011. Allison is also finally released after Bill’s dubious heroic acts and receives a fair upon her return to Oklahoma. . . I won’t tell you the final twist, but given how far it strays from Knox’s story, it probably won’t be surprising that the film’s ultimate resolution is a bit more dramatic than what happened. after Knox returns.