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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

you can watch the first episode of Cinemax’s new series The Knick on YouTube (if you’re in the US)


Or if, ahem, you have a U.S. IP address. Here it is at YouTube. First one’s free, kid…

The Knick is a new series from Steven Soderbergh — airing on Cinemax — staring Clive Owen as a doctor at a semifictional hospital called the Knickerbocker in turn-of-the-20th-century New York City.

I loved this first episode, at least after Soderbergh got his ode to Skin-emax — that is, some completely gratuitous full-frontal female nudity in first five seconds — out of the way. Owen’s John Thackery is crotchety, brilliant, drug-addicted, and racist, the latter of which we discover when the hospital administrators force him to accept the highly qualified but highly not-white Dr. Algernon Edwards (André Holland) as his new assistant. The clash between them in this first episode (I’m sure there will be more) comes to a pinnacle with a line of dialogue that I think I will probably never forget.

A warning: There’s a lot of medical gore here, and stuff that will simply astonish you when you realize how far medicine has come in a relatively short period of time. Like how rival ambulance drivers literally fight over the opportunity to pick up an ailing person — apparently the hospitals pay a sort of bounty for new patients. Incredible.

I’m very much looking forward to more of this. And not only because of Clive Owen.

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