the-knick-cinemax

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
The moment I read about this in the trades, then saw the billboard on Sunset Blvd, my interest was piqued. 4 episodes in and I’m convinced we’ve got another great premium cable series. “The Knick” traces the early days of modern medicine, the bridge between black hat practices and real science, all set against a gritty early twentieth century New York City. Clive Owen plays Dr. John Thackery, the talented leader of the surgery staff at the Knickerbocker Hospital, who in addition to his medical discoveries loves to indulge in opium and cocaine in his free time.  While Clive Owen has been a fixture in features for some time (my favorite being the post-apocalyptic “Children of Men”), he’s never really excelled in that leading role he seemed forced into and so uncomfortable in, on the big screen. However on television, in my mind he’s finally arrived.  Owen brings a nuanced magnetism to this complicated characters who seems mostly concerned with his own vanity and pleasure.  Most notable about the show is the surgery porn, which is admittedly difficult to watch at times, but entirely organic to the material and well done.  And Steven Soderbergh has done a bang up job in dialing in the tone as the series’ director. Whereas “Boardwalk Empire” and it’s steady and graceful camera movement match the time period, Soderbergh is more daring and experimental with a contemporary camera language, with fast movements and an overall distinct verite style. The music also feels very contemporary, so the result is almost a dissonant show that somehow works.  Also good to see Soderbergh alive and well after his failed prediction that his biopic “Che” would essentially be the beginning of the end of his career.  He’s particularly proven himself deft at navigating across different platforms and budgets, and follows the material rather than delivery vehicle – in many ways I can relate and appreciate as a filmmaker. B ig win for Cinemax, it’s on my DVR and one of my new obsessions.  Also, here’s a scene from “Children of Men”, I can’t embed the car scene, so here’s another one which illustrates the incredibly choreography and exquisite long takes in that film…