Hunters: the hidden past of America
Al Pacino and Logan Lerman hunting Nazis: that should be enough to convince you to watch Hunters, but there is more to it than catchy, star-studded advertisement promises.
Set in the America of the 70’s, the brand-new Amazon Prime Video’s series (lauched on February 20th), follows the path down to Hell of the young Jonah (Logan Lerman), a teenager whose name is a clear recall of the Jonah in the belly of the whale trope from the related book of Hebrew Bible. After witnessing his grandmother’s assassination, Jonah joins a team mostly composed of Jewish people—some WW2 survivors and some younger recruits—captained by Meyer Offerman (Al Pacino). The group is carrying on a plan to pursue and kill all the Nazis who managed to escape to America after the War.
The narrative of the whole show is structured as a chess game: we see the reasoning behind Mayer’s moves as opposed to the grand, heinous project that the Nazis survivors are planning, in order to give birth to a Fourth Reich. While the two factions are very well defined, Jonah finds himself in the middle, struggling to understand the meaning of being on “the good side” and where does the line between justice and revenge stand.
The most disturbing feature of the show is not the explicit violence in the Holocaust flashbacks or Mayer’s team assassinations (their motto is “you die like you killed”), but the fact that it is actually based on true events. Specifically, the series deals with the Paperclip Operation: the secret mission through which the American government recruited German doctors, engineers and other science specialists, saving them from the Nuremberg Trials and, most importantly (for them), from Russian recruiters.
Likewise, the surreal dynamics experienced by Jonah intersect with his deep passion for comics and movies: when the situation escalate too much for his young and impressionable mind, the boy stays lucid by picturing the other characters as protagonists of Hollywood movies, as dancers in comedy musicals or even as advertising testimonials. This narrative device is indeed one of the most interesting aspects of the series: references to real-Nazi hunters intermingle with popular culture represented as a means to cope with the horror of reality.
In this prophetic match, justice is embodied by a black, lesbian woman. A third eye—an impartial one—an FBI agent who will try to save Jonah from the corruption of a violent settling of accounts.