“This story was inspired by the greatest superhero I have ever met: my grandmother.” Thus begins a letter that accompanies the first chapters of the series Hunters provided by Amazon Prime Video to the press. In it, David Weil talks about how his grandmother was the only survivor of his family after passing through the Nazi concentration camps of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. When he was a child, she told him some of those terrible experiences, stories full of drama and terror but also that show the incredible resistance of the human being. To him and his brothers, those stories resembled comics of superheroes, battles between good and evil where there was no middle ground: a world divided into heroes and villains.
It is normal that in Hunters, whose 10 episodes premiere on Friday 21 on Amazon Prime Video, have some air to comic both in its aesthetics and in that division between good and bad. The protagonist (played by Logan Lerman) is a 1977 Brooklyn youth who works in a comic book store. His grandmother’s murder will lead him to seek revenge after a well-known millionaire of her offers his help and participation in the team he leads: a group of Nazi hunters. Because in that world (as in ours), the Nazis are everywhere, gradually taking positions of power, and have the objective of establishing the Fourth Reich in the United States. The leader of those cazanazis is played by Al Pacino in which he is his first role in a television series since the miniseries Angels in America (2003).
Hunters, produced by Jordan Peele, and judging by the three initial episodes (the first one, 90 minutes long; the rest, 60 minutes), moves in contrast to the seriousness of the Holocaust drama in some flashbacks, saturated colors, disco music and afro hair of the seventies, and comic style, with clear references to Batman, for example. The shock is even greater in sudden humorous fragments or in moments of violent action. It is not surprising that, on many occasions, aesthetics and ambience remind of the action movies of the seventies, some of which starred Al Pacino himself.
Aesthetics and those punctual excesses Damn bastards they do not hide the relevance of the moment in which this series arrives, with the eruption of supermacist movements and the extreme right throughout the world. Its leaders highlight the real base on which it sits: not only real cazanazis, but also Operation Paperclip, with which the United States Intelligence and Military Service extracted Nazi scientists specialized in rockets, chemical weapons and medical experimentation from Germany. Because another of the plots of the series has as its protagonist a policeman investigating the strange death of a scientist.
With all these ingredients, and once you get used to the disconcerting mixture that can have you with a heart shrunk in one scene and make you laugh out in the next one, the result is an entertaining and well executed story. Overcome the long presentation pilot, the plot hooked and everything begins to run with rhythm. A comic without superheroes. Or rather, with superheroes that have no powers but great cravings for justice and revenge. And the strongest power of all: the fear that what happened in the past will happen again.