By Juan Calvillo
Amazon’s “Hunters“ takes creative license with a tragic moment in history, but allows its main character to figure whether the best revenge is revenge.
Taking place in a fictional world, the show asks the audience to imagine a world where Nazis managed to escape to the United States.
Over the 10-episode first-season run of “Hunters,” the main characters go through hell and back as Nazi enemies come from out of the woodwork to challenge not only freedom, but the safety of all people.
The trailers have shown Logan Lerman as Jonah and Al Pacino as Meyer talking gravely after a death in Jonah’s family.
This event is the catalyst that pushes Jonah into a world of Nazis and Nazi hunters.
In “Hunters,” Nazis have managed to worm their way all over the American hierarchy of government and political power.
This is where suspension of disbelief kicks in, because the show puts Nazis in the government, the FBI and almost living in every major city on the East coast.
The show bubbles from a slow burn to an explosive finale.
“Hunters” is lucky to have multiple names to draw from, with actors like Pacino and Lerman.
But it is Jerrika Hinton as FBI agent Millie Morris, and the pair of Saul Rubinek and Carol Kane, as married couple Murray and Mindy Markowitz, that are a real treat to watch
Hinton is great as a tough-as -nails FBI agent who catches on to what the Hunters are doing all on her own.
Hinton’s character is a badass who figures things out much quicker than most and is balanced on the side of the law in the battle between the Nazis and Hunters.
Rubinek and Kane are both hilarious to watch as that old married couple many have seen before. But it’s the moments when they show more of their back story from their time in the internment camps that fleshes the characters out.
The pair proves to be not only a source of fun but a source of emotional connection as the show goes on.
It would be silly not to talk about Pacino and Lerman of course, because the pair hold the center of this large ensemble cast.
Pacino as Meyer is laid back and sly, but just watching his face, the audience can see there’s a fire that’s about to burn through.
This makes many of Pacino’s scenes with the Nazi villains anxiety -building to see.
If Pacino is part of the center then Lerman is the gooey middle. It’s through his character Jonah’s experiences that the audience sees what real struggle comes from deciding to seek out vengeance.
There are various moments during the show that put Jonah in situations where a choice needs to be made and while he makes the ‘good’ choice most times, it comes as a shock to him that the best outcome isn’t always what happens. “Hunters” brilliantly deconstructs the idea of human heroes.
Through the season Jonah compares the Hunters to the likes of Batman and Robin. But it’s Meyer that breaks it down to him.
He tells him that those heroes are made of paper and ink, and it’s easy for them to make the good choice to be heroes because they aren’t flesh and blood.
He explains that those are fantasy, and the real world is starkly different.
This is what makes “Hunters” so interesting.
It asks the audience not to see the team of Hunters as heroes or the good guys.
It asks if what they are doing about the Nazis is just after everything that the Nazis have done. It asks the audience to accept the Hunters as flawed humans.
“Hunters” is set in the and the aesthetic is picture perfect. The cars, clothes, one liners, everything is just as it should look for a period piece.
The music and sound track are perfect for the show, really making it feel like a bit of time travel has been achieved.
The one thing that stands out is the production of moments through the series that seem like nods to the audience.
These moments remind viewers that despite this show really dealing with some heavy themes, there is a sense of whimsy and tongue in cheek.
These moments range from a commercial explaining how to tell if some one is a Nazi, to a cartoon depiction of story told to Jonah.
These moments are amazing, and while they may be jarring in tone, they make perfect sense in when and where they are placed.
It’s hard not to watch “Hunters” and draw parallels to real world situations over the recent years.
This is especially true when it seems that bigots have become brazen and don’t run and hide in the dark as they once did when revealed. In the end though, it is a TV show, no more and no less.
It is made for its entertainment value.
At its core, it’s a show that isn’t shy about the realities of hate.
It also isn’t shy about the ramifications that come when vengeance taken.
The Holocaust ended 75 years ago but still resonates with people to this day because of the horrific actions taken on the Jewish people.