...Red, White, and Blue "Hunters"
Love me some Al Pacino! The hunky spitfire-thespian is back – this time leading an ensemble cast of Nazi-hunters in disco days USA. Al has livened up the streets of New York City for decades – portraying characters like good-guy cop Frank Serpico in the eponymous 1973 film, and loveable bank robber Sonny Wortzik in “Dog Day Afternoon” (1975).
This year, Mr. Pacino plays Meyer Offerman – a Jewish Holocaust survivor-turned-vigilante in Amazon Prime’s “Hunters.” It’s a show fit for lovers – of superheroes, thriller-com, and yes, the aforementioned disco days. Get your fix of ‘70s afros, platform shoes, polyester pants, and even an impromptu performance from Saturday Night Fever – surprisingly set right on the boardwalk of Coney Island???
Say what you want about nostalgia pieces, but “Hunters” is worth tuning in to – not just for its disco ball. It delves deep into a scary urban legend that I myself have heard of, but pushed far from my mind – that post-World War II USA was a welcoming new home to German Nazis. This show shines, as it highlights a fictitious band of New Yorkers bent on tracking these criminals down everywhere from Florida to Maryland and enacting deadly justice.
Yet “Hunters” astutely inhabits that “gray area” of morality – leaving the audience to question whether the justice these Nazi-hunters seek is all really worth it. Cut to the emotionally tortured eyes of Jonah Heidelbaum (actor Logan Lerman) – the newest member to this slasher group. He best reflects this moral quandary. Older couple Mr. and Mrs. Markowitz (played by Saul Rubinek and Carol Kane respectively) also pose the question. They have the chance to “off” the man who killed their little boy over thirty years earlier in a concentration camp. Do they go through with it? Watch and see.
Speaking of, “Hunters” can be tough to watch – there are plenty of violent torture and murder scenes. There are also sad flashbacks to World War II. I’ve smushed my face into my pillow at least a few times. But luckily this show is balanced, with a fun eclectic group of Nazi-hunters, and one Steady-Eddie FBI agent named Millie Morris (played well by Jerrika Hinton).
There are also dark-humor sidebar scenes, as mentioned, taking us right down the rabbit hole of 1977 America. Was our culture really like that?! I was alive back then, just a baby, but still. It makes one grateful about society’s evolution, though I know we still have far to go.
Now as for the “bad guys” – the rumored Fourth Reich? Helmed by actress Lena Olin of “Chocolat” (2000) and “Romeo is Bleeding” (1993), it’s great to see her back on-screen as simply The Colonel. Chilling enough name, right? She’s fearsome in “Hunters,” though I’d like more screen-time for her. It would make her character’s eventual face-to-face confrontation with her Jewish arch-nemesis Meyer Offerman all the more exciting.
I haven’t finished Season 1 of “Hunters,” but I’m close. It’s an intentionally entertaining show, which can be uncomfortable to contemplate given its serious subject matter (can anything Holocaust-related be entertaining?), but like Allstate Insurance, “You’re in Good Hands” with Al Pacino. And if you like comic books, then “Hunters” is certainly worth a gander.