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Film Review


Directed by Miguel Sapochnik
From: Apple TV+
Released: 11.05.21
Review by Julian Lytle | November 3, 2021 at 3:30 PM
Grade: B

Basically: An old man in a post-apocalyptic world builds a robot to help him travel across the country.

I swear, at this point, Tom Hanks can star in any type of movie. Years ago, if you told me that one day Hanks would be in one of the most Heavy Metal (the magazine not the music) movies of 2021 I’d have thrown something in your face. Yet here we are with Finch, a movie coming to Apple TV+ (also something I wouldn’t have believed). 

Hanks plays an older man named Finch living in a post-climactic-event United States. He scavenges the land in a modified RV with his dog and his helper bot named Dewey. Finch makes a humanoid robot to help him before a dangerous storm approaches and he needs to travel to a safer area. From there we go on an adventure with Finch as he tries to teach and prepare the robot, who names himself Jeff (Caleb Landry Jones), how to survive in this world.

Photo courtesy of Apple Studios

Finch is totally built on Hanks’ performance. It’s just him interacting with a CG character and a dog most of the time. And he carries it through. At this point you know it’s going to at least have a good Hanks performance. For me, the story of an old man with a newly “born” robot reminds me of all the good anime I grew up with from the 80s. The design of the tech also gives me strong Fallout vibes—Finch’s suit keeps him alive in this dangerous world and he has a wrist monitor to keep track of his vitals as well as the outside environment. 

The production design of the technology brings about a tactile and worn feel. Jeff looks like a design from Boston Dynamics, extrapolating how bipedal robots are going to look in a few years. He feels real and not a beyond-scope design of what we see now. Jeff is made with a craftsman toolset and some magically made robot-like Ultron or something. The scratches and dirt with creaks and cracks on his body make the world feel hard. The color of the film helps sell the state of the world too.

Photo courtesy of Apple Studios

In this story, the world isn’t devastated by climate change or explosions from war. It’s just happenstance of the universe that causes the world’s atmosphere to become so damaged that people, animals, and plant life can’t survive. This is what drives Finch to be so scared of the world and to survive in the way he does. He’s a lonely old man who just loves his dog. He’s like a sad Professor Elefun (or Geppetto for those who aren’t Astro Boy fans). 

I really ended up liking Finch a lot and while I don’t get to watch many films on Apple TV+ this is probably the one I like the most. 

In the End: We have Tom Hanks doing his thing, being the most likable guy ever, with a cool robot. It’s a good small science fiction movie from everyone involved.

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