Elliot – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Julie – | Review Score – 4/5
Amira – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Jude – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Maja – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Sim – | Review Score – 3/5
Katarina – | Review Score – 3/5
The Eddy – | Review Score – 3/5
The Eddy is a show that has all the ingredients to be a killer hit. The Jazz music oozing through the series is fantastic, the individual characters are interesting and multifaceted while the gritty, unusual approach to filming perfectly captures the essence of those dingy dives in the back alleys in Paris. With Damien Chazelle’s name next to the opening couple of episodes and some meaty character tension throughout, The Eddy starts off its ensemble in-tune but by the end feels like it hits too many bum notes and discordant melodies to make it anything other than a missed opportunity.
At the heart of this show lies club owner Elliot. With finances tight and his co-owner Farid in charge of the main day-to-day running of the business, Elliot finds himself internally conflicted when his estranged daughter Julie arrives on the scene and begins staying with him. When Farid is killed and Elliot is forced to take the reigns of the club himself, a shadowy many named Zivko starts breathing down his neck, demanding money owed to him by Farid. To make matters worse, the police suspect Elliot is the one behind Farid’s murder.
Alongside this formulaic and relatively cliched main narrative is the far more interesting subplots involving each of the different characters. Like any good jazz band, the individual instruments are given their own solos and it’s here where the story really comes into its own. Bass player Jude has a dark history full of regret regarding his ex and previous drug addiction. Drummer Katarina may be quiet but her inner conflict comes from her abusive Father, whom she’s forced to look after when he falls ill. Even main singer Maja faces a tough decision regarding her career prospects midway through the show.
Interwoven around these segments is Elliot’s relationship with his daughter Julie. This is easily the best part of the show and the symbiotic relationship between Jazz music and emotion is perfectly captured through the episodes. Unfortunately it also feels more like a compilation album of different genres rather than a cohesive mix-tape. Despite some significant time dedicated to these individual pieces, ultimately a lot of this falls by the wayside in favour of the crime drama which overpowers the latter half of the show. Even worse, The Eddy throws in a few predictable and momentum-destroying twists that leave the door wide open for a second season rather than crescendoing this into a beautiful final number.
There’s definitely a lot of potential with this one but it also feels like it’s been overcooked to try and make this show as exciting as possible. Ironically these segments involving the gang just don’t have the same allure and intrigue as the individual characters and to be honest, The Eddy would have been far more effective had it honed in on what made Whiplash and La La Land so effective; the character struggles. The main narrative for both of these films are a lot more character-driven and while that influence is here early on, the latter half of the show abandons it in favour of a more linear narrative.
This is perfectly captured during the finale too when one final segment involving Julie and Elliot completing their character arc is rudely interrupted by another big set piece. I won’t spoil what happens but suffice to say it’s the perfect example of these clashing styles not always working well together.
Stylistically, The Eddy is a fascinating and cleverly shot series. Instead of using smooth crane and dolly movements and an abundance of lavish colours, The Eddy instead leans in heavy on the grainy, rustic feel of hand-held cameras. You really get a feel for the tone and mood in this manner and the sheer number of extreme close-ups and various different hard cuts and swinging cameras only back this up. This may also put some people off though, especially during the chase sequences early on, but it’s also part of the charm with this one.
The Eddy is a show that has all the pieces to make for a wonderful musical drama. The characters are interesting, realistically depicted and certainly flawed. The Jazz music flows beautifully throughout the 8 episodes and the unique style makes this unlike any other drama released in 2020. Unfortunately The Eddy slips up where it matters most and the narrative should have focused on the main character drama exclusively to really build those emotional peaks.
Instead what we receive is a hodge-podge of influences with a mix of the great and not so great, essentially balancing this out to being an okay drama rather than one of the biggest hits of the year.