A New Television Series about Nazi Hunters Trivializes Its Subject Matter with Comic-Book Silliness https://mosaicmagazine.com/picks/arts-culture/2020/02/a-new-television-series-about-nazi-hunters-trivializes-its-subject-matter-with-comic-book-silliness/

February 20, 2020 | Kyle Smith
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Set in 1977, the Amazon series Hunters, which debuts tomorrow, stars Al Pacino as Meyer Offerman, a Holocaust survivor turned millionaire who leads a team of highly skilled volunteers in pursuing ex-Nazis living in the U.S. “Each episode,” writes Kyle Smith in his review, “finds the hunters tracking down one Special Guest Nazi to administer ironic torture and, often, painful execution.” By loading the show with comic-book clichés (one character wields “a golden dagger of vengeance”) while catering to the demands of box-checking diversity, its writers have produced something neither entertaining nor intellectually satisfying:

The inclusiveness fetish . . . explains why a specifically Jewish revenge story gets diluted into meaninglessness by being embodied by a team of hunters that includes a kickboxing black single mom, an Asian-American Vietnam vet, and a snarky British nun. Also on the team of hunters are an alcoholic B-movie actor and a married couple of codebreaking alte kockers.

Why is Meyer operating outside the law and making himself and everyone on his team liable for murder charges? . . . Meyer is a noted philanthropist who is said to be able to pull the strings of politicians (and manages effortlessly to free an associate from police custody after he is caught with what appears to be several pounds of heroin). It beggars belief that he couldn’t find anyone in the justice system to hear his exhaustively documented evidence about the war criminals he keeps tracking down. Yet he dispenses with the niceties and takes care of business himself.

The series treats all such escapades not as moral tangles but instead as great escapist fun, with a silly comic-book tone. [It thus] trivializes real-life Nazi hunters such as Simon Wiesenthal. Moreover, the many attempts in Hunters to drape itself in solemnity (via such episode titles as “The Mourner’s Kaddish” and references to ancient Jewish codes of retribution) are undercut by relentlessly cutesy comedy notions such as introducing killers as though they were joining a candle-lighting ceremony at a bar mitzvah party or having stoned teens slip into a fantasy dance number (“Stayin’ Alive,” which as of the summer of 1977 hadn’t been released yet).

Read more on National Review: https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/02/television-review-hunters-dumbs-down-nazi-hunting/

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