The Eddy is one of the many shows Netflix have dropped over the last few weeks while we’re all stuck at home and follows a jazz club owner dealing with a variety of situations and issues that pop up with the police, members of his band and family. Andre Holland, Amandla Stenberg and Joanna Kulig are some of the many talented actors involved in the project.
Damien Chazelle was responsible for directing the first two episodes and his involvement is why I was interested. He clearly has a passion for music (La La Land and Whiplash) and seeing him return to doing something related to jazz was exciting for me. Right from the opening scene we can tell this has more stylistic flair than a lot of the shows on Netflix with the one takes, spinning shots, editing and lighting Chazelle crafts an incredible atmosphere for a jazz club and the directors of other episodes of The Eddy do an incredible job developing the various different settings. The well staged performance sequences were expected coming from the man who made La La Land. Despite a chunk of the songs in The Eddy not working at all for me , there is clearly a sense of passion behind every performance. Some of the best moments in the show is just seeing these characters practice and seeing how much the song means to each of them.
Although there seems to be an energy behind the camera, the overall narrative of The Eddy is dull and disappointing. There’s a beautiful story about several individuals coping with loss and overcoming their difficulties buried under one of the most dull crime stories I’ve ever seen. I had not seen the trailer beforehand so I expected this to be a more subtle drama. When events of the first episode unfold I was surprised and intrigued but the way the story plays out lacks nearly any tension and has a disappointingly boring resolution.
One might argue it’s more about the journey these characters take and not the resolution of the crime story. While that’s a valid argument I found that equally as unsatisfying as the crime story. Most characters came off as incredibly cliched and the show shifted between different characters far too often for more to really care about them or the storyline they’re involved in. For example, the moment I started to care about Amira, the show moved to explore characters like Jude, a bit of development that had no real impact on the rest of the story. I do feel like the decision to focus each episode on a different character hurt the structure and made it hard to focus on one character and properly make us care for them or make them feel 3-dimensional.
Even though I didn’t particularly care for many of the characters, it’s hard not to praise the phenomenal performances from nearly everyone involved. Andre Holland is particular manages to convey so much through these subtle facial expressions and is absolutely deserving of awards recognition when the Emmys come along. Amandla Stenberg also plays a character who is so incredibly cliched and manages to make her one of the show’s standouts. Even when I’ve seen her in incredibly poor films she never phones it in and always gives it her all and that’s incredibly evident here.
Overall, despite being a mostly well-acted and produced mini-series, The Eddy never really lives up to the high bar set by projects involving Damien Chazelle and fails to make anything happening on screen compelling.