Have a Kleenex box handy for the new Tom Hanks film, Finch, as one man creates a robot to care for his canine friend long after he’s gone.
Finch is not a continuation of Atticus Finch’s story in To Kill a Mockingbird. Nor is it a biopic of filmmaker David Fincher. The film, however, is a casualty of the pandemic delays. The film becomes the second Tom Hanks film on Apple TV+ following last year’s Greyhound. While Finch , formerly BIOS, kept getting delayed theatrically, News of the World did see a theatrical release last December. Universal kept delaying this one and ultimately, it was unloaded. It’s possible that the Delta surge would have forced another delay had they kept the August date. The studio is retaining home entertainment and linear television rights so at some point, you’ll be able to watch it outside of Apple TV+. This week’s launch is in prime position for awards season. Will Tom Hanks make his way back to the podium? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Listen, this is not going to be an easy watch but here’s some good news: Goodyear (Seamus) will not die by the end of the movie. I know what you’re thinking: does the dog die? The answer to that question is no but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t a Kleenex box by your side. Finch Weinberg (Tom Hanks), a robotics engineer, is one of the last people alive and it’s a daily struggle to stay alive in his St. Louis underground laboratory bunker. Dewey, a modified lunar rover, helps Finch with going through what is left on grocery store shelves. Meanwhile, Finch creates a robot (Caleb Landry Jones), who later calls himself Jeff, to care for Goodyear. Of course, teaching Jeff doesn’t come easy. Jeff detects a superstorm heading there way and this forces them on the road to San Francisco.
The world is not what it once was. Not after a cataclysmic event–an extinction-level event that humanity could very well face–leaves Finch to fend for himself in an underground bunker. Goodyear would come along five years before the film begins. But after a decade, Finch isn’t doing well and so he needs to do something to ensure Goodyear is cared for. But even after building Jeff, it takes a while for Goodyear to adjust to being around Jeff. Just look at when Finch tries to have the two play a game of fetch. But even when it comes to Jeff, the AI does not always make the best decisions. Anyway, Finch does the best he can to impart his knowledge on Jeff before his life comes to an end.
I hesitate to refer to this film as a Western because it doesn’t take place in the late 1800s. There are no shoot-me-outs. It’s just one man, a robot, and a dog fighting to survive. It just so happens that much of their journey takes place within the American West. Even when it comes to the dystopian side of things, you don’t have the typical things that make up a dystopian film. Moreover, Finch does not happen without a veteran producer teaming up with a recent film student in penning the screenplay. You never know when you’ll get your big break but a chance encounter between Craig Luck and Ivor Powell results in this drama. There are aspects of sci-fi here but one does not need to be a fan of the genre in particular.
This film is not Cast Away because Jeff is not silent like Wilson the volleyball. Sure, Finch is in isolation and is the only human on screen for much of the film but that’s really where any comparison should end. With the minimal cast, you’d think it was a pandemic film. However, this is not the case since the film was shot in 2019.
Finch is the slightly futuristic sci-fi drama that even non-sci-fi fans can watch.
DIRECTOR: Miguel Sapochnik
SCREEENWRITERS: Craig Luck and Ivor Powell
CAST: Tom Hanks, Caleb Landy Jones