REVIEW: HUNTERS – SEASON 1

 

Al Pacino, Logan Lerman, and Josh Radnor in Hunters (2020)

Starring

Al Pacino (Once Upon A Time In Hollywood)
Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson)
Jerrika Hinton (Broken Angel)
Lena Olin (Alias)
Saul Rubinek (Warehouse 13)
Carol Kane (Scrooged)
Josh Radnor (How I Me Your Mother)
Greg Austin (After the War)
Tiffany Boone (Beautiful Creatures)
Louis Ozawa (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Kate Mulvany (The Great Gatsby)
Dylan Baker (Miss Sloane)

Hunters (2020)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Izabella Miko (Clash of The Titans)
James Le Gros (The Last Winter)
Ebony Obsidian (Sistas)
Jeannie Berlin (Inherent Vice)
Celia Weston (Hulk)
Victor Williams (The King of Queens)
John Noble (Sleepy Hollow)
Raphael Sbarge (Risky Business)
Henry Hunter Hall (Harriet)
Anastasia Barzee (The Society)
Hannah Reid Rubinek (Over 21)
Megan Channell (Contest)
Julissa Bermudez (Danger One)
William Sadler (Roswell)

The first death in Amazon Prime’s new series Hunters shouldn’t be a surprise, especially given the show’s title. But when it comes, the violence of it is so unforgiving and so visceral that it shocks you into paying attention. This is a thriller that isn’t interested in subtlety. Created and written by new kid on the block David Weil, the series feels as though it’s appeared out of nowhere, but any show produced by powerhouse director Jordan Peele (Get Out and Us) and bolstered by the unexpected but brilliant casting of Hollywood legend Al Pacino will have a lot of hype to live up to. Thankfully for everyone involved, Hunters exceeds those expectations.Hunters (2020)The action, taking place in 1970s New York, follows an unassuming teenager, Jonah Heidelbaum (Logan Lerman), who spends his time going to movies with friends and selling drugs to the popular kids in his neighbourhood. He lives with his grandmother, Ruth (Jeannie Berlin), who survived the Holocaust and shows her love through bowls of chicken soup. Tragedy strikes when an unknown assailant breaks in and shoots her in the middle of the night. Turns out, sweet old Ruth was a member of a group of Nazi hunters, led by millionaire Meyer Offerman (Pacino), who takes Jonah under his wing in the absence of his grandmother. Hell bent on revenge, the teenager is intent on joining their crusade against those who tortured the Jews in the 1940s.Al Pacino and Logan Lerman in Hunters (2020)It’s here Weil’s most obvious influences come out to play: superheroes and Quentin Tarantino. Overstatement is the name of the game – at one point the group are referred to as “Jewperheroes” – and nowhere is this more evident than when the hunters actually find a Nazi. Making an old soldier’s ears bleed by sadistically turning up the bass in his own music studio feels particularly Reservoir Dogs-esque. Taking a leaf from Tarantino’s book may grate on some diehard fans of the legendary director, but the story behind the fisticuffs is enough to keep the series afloat. Alongside Jonah’s tale of revenge are meticulously detailed flashbacks to the toils of the concentration camps. Here, the terrors of the Nazi regime are laid bare in scenes that are hard to watch, even in the more subdued moments. For every Nazi we see murdered in the 70s, five are slaughtered in the camps.Al Pacino and Logan Lerman in Hunters (2020)There’s also a seemingly unrelated story running parallel with the hunters narrative, as police detective Millie Morris (Jerrika Hinton) begins investigating a series of strange deaths. Her hunt leads her into a tangled web of corruption, secret Nazis and the terrifying rise of a Fourth Reich. This is where Hunters’ greatest weapon comes in – Travis Leich, a psychotic young neo-Nazi wreaking havoc on the orders of his superior, a German woman known only as The Colonel (Lena Olin). It’s tempting to say that Hunters has come at just the right time, when anti-Semitism is growing around the world and neo-Nazis are crawling out of the shadows. To claim the show is saying anything important about our own time would be a bit of a stretch – it doesn’t go deep enough into why Nazis still feel empowered enough to spout their hatred. But it does serve to grimly remind us of the unspeakable horrors of the Holocaust. Soon, these stories will be the only ones told of that time and it’s easy to see that Weil found them important to include.Al Pacino in Hunters (2020)There are moments which push you to question who the bad guys are before swiftly reminding us – via a barbarous scene in the camps – that the answer is: the Nazis. Hunters is an exercise in living out a cathartic fantasy. It’s a very bloody, very stylised pipe dream, in which the bad guys get what’s coming to them.