The Eddy: Jack Thorne’s series (with Houda Benyamina, Laïla Marrakchi, Alan Poul, and Damien Chazelle each directing a pair of episodes) tells the story of a man looking for himself, in the form of his relationship with her daughter, his music, and the success of the jazz club band he leads. A lot of the elements are easily recognizable, which doesn’t mean the whole is not entertaining and welcome. The structure of the series, not coincidentally, resembles a jazz piece, as each episode allows a supporting character the chance to solo and shine as a specific story is told, even as the main story advances. It’s a sign of the connection formed that the characters that don’t get the time are missed.
André Holland, heading the cast, is phenomenal as the troubled man being pulled to all directions and seemingly making all the wrong choices; there is so much of his performance that is based on subtle shifts. Amandla Stenberg, as his troubled and troublesome daughter, is also very solid. Joanna Kulig is great, and she absolutely nails the musical performances as well. The other musicians are just adequate actors (Lada Obradovic and Damian Nueva are the two that get more screen time), but as they perform all the music on screen, it’s a decent trade-off.
The series is shot with a documentary-style camerawork; the images are intensely, almost violently intimate, and they bring great urgency to everything that happens, from dramatic scenes to musical performances and violent confrontations; the editing obviously matches. The Paris portrayed is rich, alive, diverse, lived-in, very different from what is usually shown. The music (the original songs were composed by Glen Ballard and Randy Kerber, who is part of the fictional band on-screen) is a constant, and for jazz lovers, it’s a treat to see them performed.