FINCH (APPLE TV+) (2021)
SYNOPSIS: Tom Hanks is Finch, a man who embarks on a moving and powerful journey to find a new home for his unlikely family—his beloved dog and a newly created robot—in a dangerous and ravaged world.
While Tom Hanks is stuck mostly with a volleyball dubbed Wilson in Castaway, at least he has a lanky robot, a dog and another helper-robot to accompany him on a journey to safer ground in Finch.
Hanks is Finch Weinberg, once an engineer in a scientific institute, he is now one of post-apocalyptic earth’s last few survivors living in an underground bunker after a solar flare destroyed the ozone layer. Earth is now largely inhabitable and you will be instantly turned into ashes if you stand under the blistering sun.
Finch’s only living companion is his dog named Goodyear and while he has a makeshift robot named Dewey, an economic version of the Boston Dynamics robot dog, Finch is worried about the welfare of Goodyear after his demise. Ahem..did we by chance mentioned that Finch is suffering from radiation sickness? Finch’s only hope lies in a humanoid robot assembled with various spare engineer parts he gathered.
As a deadly storm approaches, the gang embarked on a long road trip to San Francisco in Finch’s solar powered RV. The humanoid robot eventually dubbed Jeff is taught by Finch from how to walk to how to drive and to trust no one. He is basically the future caretaker of Goodyear that is if Jeff is able to live up to Finch’s expectations.
Let us first get this out of the way. The sparse plotting is not exactly gripping or as we called it “a-page-turner-sort-of-excitement”. The screenplay by Craig Luck and Ivor Powell is essentially a sentimental post-apocalyptic adventure about family and human responsibility. There’re no horrific undead creatures as seen in I Am Legend or The Road’s portrayal of the grim darkness of human nature. Raising more questions than answered, Finch for the most part is chillingly effective and funny which explained the seemingly leisure pacing.
Jeff as motion-captured by Caleb Landry Jones is an endearing lad for the most part. He is curious, innocent and naïve like a newborn baby. Making matters worse, he also has to endure Finch’s increasingly irritable mood and temper especially after Jeff’s initiative to replenish supplies nearly got them killed. Still, you got to give the grumpy old man a break as he is coughing out blood every now and then.
Even though Finch is played by one of America’s favourite actors, Tom Hanks, Finch is not a very interesting character in the end. In fact, the guy is probably a loner or a geek living alone in a makeshift apartment pre-dystopian. He doesn’t seem to develop much relationship with his co-workers or has an immediate loving family. Nevertheless, Hanks as usual has the charisma to drive home the concept that there will always be light in a flawed dark world.
Finch is primarily a small-scale heartwarming affair especially after spending two hours with Finch and Jeff. The rather solemn ending will leave some in tears but nevertheless, if you hate the undead, zombies or anything that are massively rendered on the computers, you will likely appreciate this charming little movie.
Review by Linus Tee