17 August 2014 | gogoschka-1
Gripping portrayal of life – and death – in and around a New York hospital at the turn of the 20th. Century
Wow. This new show certainly knows how to get your attention. Within the first five minutes of the first episode you will have a very clear picture of what it meant to have to undergo surgery at a time when even today's most common surgical procedures had hardly been tested – let alone successfully. With this new series, writers Jack Amiel and Michael Begler have created a fascinating – and gripping – look at the humble beginnings of modern medicine, and frankly: it made me realize just how lucky I am to live today.
The show's title is derived from the 'Knickerbocker Hospital', a fictional hospital at the turn of the 20th. century in New York which serves as the centre stage around which the lives and struggles of the protagonists revolve. 'The Nick' shows us an uneasy, turbulent time where everything is in motion, and although the benefits of the so called "modern age" are already waiting around the corner, the situation for people without money is grim. Immigrants live in horrible sanitary situations, little children have to work in factories and social frictions and racial prejudice run deep within society.
Clive Owen does an excellent job portraying a conflicted but passionate surgeon who's constantly trying to push the boundaries by inventing or refining surgical methods in the hope of lowering the mortality rate among his patients. The rest of the cast is also terrific; their performances - along with the great writing - help create a sense of realism that is rarely seen in films or TV-shows depicting that era. The same can be said of the fantastic production values – the team behind 'The Knick' obviously went to great lengths to portray everyday life of that era as accurately as possible. Virtually every frame oozes quality: the city of New York at the beginning of the twentieth century has been meticulously recreated and every busy street corner, alley or candle-lit room feels authentic. Small wonder, perhaps, given that the director, producer, cinematographer and editor of all 20 episodes is none other than multi-talent and Oscar winner Steven Soderbergh.
My verdict: This is a fascinating, gripping portrayal of the dawn of modern surgery as well as an intense human drama and an authentic look at an era we normally only get to see in films about Sherlock Holmes or Jack the Ripper. Highly recommended. 9 stars out of 10.
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