Lurid Nazis, luminous lovers and Lindbergh as leader

Hunters, the Amazon Prime series, is not exactly subtle.

Al Pacino and Logan Letman in 'Hunters' (photo credit: CHRISTOPHER SAUNDERS/AMAZON STUDIOS/TNS)
Al Pacino and Logan Letman in 'Hunters'
Hunters, which is available on Amazon Prime for those with an American credit card, or through Partner TV in Israel, is not exactly subtle. It’s done almost like a horror film, which is not surprising because its executive producer is horror-meister Jordan Peele (Us, Get Out). Its over-the-top style is reminiscent of the recent hit film Joker.
While pre-release publicity focused on Al Pacino as Nazi-hunter Meyer Offerman in the US in 1977, he is just one member of an impressive cast, with wonderful veteran character actors, including Jeannie Berlin (The Night Of), Carol Kane (Taxi) and Saul Rubinek (Unforgiven). Dylan Baker, who was the perverted and amoral billionaire Colin Sweeney on The Good Wife, and the eccentric bio-terrorist on The Americans, adds an unrepentant Nazi to the gallery of creeps he has portrayed.
Predictably, Pacino chews the scenery and utters his lines in one of the thickest Yiddish accents ever heard on television. Logan Lerman, a young actor who is the show’s hero, gives a good performance as a young boy on a quest to find his grandmother’s killer. Pacino mentors him with lines like, “You should read the Torah more. It’s the original comic book.”
But while the show is fast-paced and entertaining, it exploits tragedy and invents lurid tortures that did not actually take place, creating controversy and drawing criticism. In one sequence, in a scene set at Auschwitz, a chess master is forced to play a match in which inmates are used as chess pieces and murdered whenever the master loses a piece. The Auschwitz Memorial slammed this sequence as “dangerous foolishness” and a “caricature.” It seems both odd and repugnant that given the many and varied real-life horrors of the concentration camps, the creators would feel the need to invent atrocities.
IF YOU’D rather see something more enjoyable, you can tune in to YES 3 at 10 p.m. on March 1 and see one of the greatest romantic comedy/dramas of all time, and one which is not as well-known today as many others, Two for the Road. The 1967 film, directed by Stanley Donen (Singin’ in the Rain), stars Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney as a couple traveling across Europe at different phases of their relationship.
Written by the renowned British-Jewish screenwriter and novelist Frederic Raphael, the film is sophisticated and bittersweet, the polar opposite of so many mindless, saccharine rom-coms.
The film goes back and forth in time as it shows the two as a married couple in the present day, fed up with each other and deciding whether to divorce; when they first met and fell in love; as newlyweds who can’t afford their own car and travel with an overbearing couple and their hilariously bratty daughter, in the film’s funniest section; and at various other phases of their relationship.
It is very much Hepburn’s movie and arguably the film in which she got to display the most range. All the supporting players are wonderful, and Jacqueline Bisset had her breakout role as the most alluring of a group of coeds with whom Hepburn’s character travels.
Although all the eye candy – especially the gorgeous fashions and European locations, as well as the leads – is fun, the film is memorable for its honesty about the ways in which love can go wrong and the depth and vivacity Hepburn brings to her character.
ONE MUCH-awaited television show that is coming up on March 17 on HOT, Cellcom TV and YES is the adaptation of the Philip Roth novel, The Plot Against America. The six-part HBO series, starring Winona Ryder, Zoe Kazan and John Turturro, imagines what America would have been like had the antisemitic Charles Lindbergh been elected president instead of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Executive produced and written by The Wire creator David Simon, it examines the ripple effect of having Lindbergh for president, given that he was a vocal spokesman for the “America First Committee,” which was opposed to the US taking part in World War II. The story seems especially intriguing since the phrase “America First” was recently embraced by President Trump and his supporters.