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In the first episode of Amazon’s Nazi-hunting drama Hunters, the character responsible for committing one of the series’s most gruesome and unapologetic acts of violence explains why he isn’t concerned about the consequences, and it is both telling and frightening indeed, given our tumultuous times:
“You can get away with anything in America.”
This just may well be the show’s most sophisticated, albeit subtle bit of commentary in a series filled with such. Keeping in mind this is a show depicting an alternate history in which likely thousands of Nazi officials and affiliates have survived World War II. Some have secretly infiltrated the United States government and American society at large, and a much smaller but equally secret band of Jewish Nazi hunters are picking them off one by one—this very well may be the most prescient.
As one who has studied the Shoah, at length, and in minute detail, I couldn’t help but be critical of the scenes ostensibly showing Auschwitz, the infamous concentration camp buried deep inside Poland. The actual Auschwitz was a place of horror, and the inmate’s first impression is that of the ramp, where, after they are hustled off the train, the selections take place. It is where the screams are first heard as hundreds, and sometimes thousands of people are separated from those they love with those in the right line are spared from the gas, while those on the left, women with children, old people, the infirm, and etc., are in the left line and are usually dead within two hours. The SS wants everything to move quickly, as in Germany, speed equals efficiency. We don’t see much of this in the movie. It plays as slow-moving theater and loses its impact.
The series is not only painfully blatant in its attempts to vilify Nazism and punish all who would proclaim its triumphs, but it is also rife with the all-too-familiar problem of too much story. Consider the first episode “In the Belly of the Whale.” It’s long, too long at 90 minutes, and force-feeds viewers with far too much information that must be retained or it’s easy to lose one’s place in upcoming episodes.
I really wanted to like Hunters, and, since I binged it over two days, it must have had some redeeming qualities, however, the many, many historical inaccuracies, holes in the plot, and a rather odd, dismissive dialog, when discussing a difficult subject serve as distractions. Too bad. Hunters could have been so much better, especially without Al Pacino, but that’s for another time.