Hunters: Amazon’s Astonishing, Alternate Examination of What Might Have Been
Vincent: Amazon Prime continues with its assault on the world of streaming with another entry into their ever-expanding list of original content in the shape of Hunters, starring film legend Al Pacino. The story centers around a group of Nazi Hunters, looking to thwart a secret Nazi conspiracy from taking hold in 1970s America. Although inspired by stories of real people seeking justice by hunting down Nazis that escaped after World War II it is not based on any of these heroic individuals in particular.
Instead, what creator David Weil did was create a parallel story that coincides with the discovery of Operation Paperclip; the infamous pact the Americans made in obtaining Nazi scientific secrets by agreeing to harbor them Stateside. As the story unfolds and the Hunters begin to peel back the layers of mystery they realize that they have stumbled upon a vast network of Nazis that are bidding to resurrect their evil plans for the world in the guise of the Fourth Reich. It is in this re-imagining of history where Weil shows his true qualities as a storyteller.
I have to admit there is always been something I find fascinating about stories that focus on an alternate version of history. It intrigues me to no end to see how the ripples from the creator’s changes go on to affect the rest of this new timeline. Shows like For All Mankind and The Man in the High Castle paint a picture of what could have been, giving us all a glimpse into a world that we could so easily have inhabited ourselves. What they also do is show us that history and the world as we know it is so fluid and ever-changing that the form it takes now is as much chance as it is destiny.
Hunters is no different in that regard, it posits that the Nazi integration into American society would be like a cancerous infection just waiting to metastasize and kill its host, leaving nothing by a Heil Hitler saluting tumor in its place. So it is up to the titular Hunters to find the source of the said infection and remove it root and stem if they are to protect not just their lives but their way of life. They show that the tree of liberty has to be continually soaked in the blood of those who would rather watch it rot and become a husk of its former self.
It is a powerful message but also a very controversial one. It is also where Hunters finds its source of conflict within its narrative. It weighs up whether or not revenge is justice, that if killing in the name of all that is good is a righteous act or just another display of cold-blooded murder. It is this balancing act that makes Hunters such a riveting story, it puts on show the duality of man and how the pain of a people can lead them to follow a path that they would rather not venture down