Did you ever think that there could be a sweet apocalypse movie? Apple TV has done just that with “Finch” starring Tom Hanks as a man surviving a cataclysmic solar flare leaving the world a dangerous radiation-filled place where those left behind have no regard for others.
Finch is no ordinary man, a robotics engineer whose keen mind has helped him survive, but it is his relationship with his dog GOODYEAR, whose name will be explained in the film, that keeps him going. Finch is ill, though and in order to plan for his dog’s remaining life, he creates Jeff, a robot who goes through the stages of life and development on hyperdrive, but not without its flaws as it misunderstands literal language and attempts to grow up fast making us laugh and endearing us to Jeff and the story.
Finch and Goodyear load up the Winnebago to travel from St. Louis to San Francisco as the weather is destined to annihilate their current bunker. This road trip is one for the memories as we learn more about the world and how it came to be. Hanks has found his new Wilson in Jeff, but this time the object can talk back. If there is anyone who can carry the film making it appear to be effortless, it’s Hanks. He brings heart — sometimes a heavy one — and soul to a dire situation.
Writers Craig Luck and Ivor Powell take us along on Finch’s journey, literally and figuratively, while director Miguel Sapochnik brings the story to life. Hanks, working with Caleb Landry Jones as the robot Jeff as well as a well-behaved canine actor, brings his “Cast Away” roots into full play. The artists behind Jones’ Jeff create a viable and lovable giant sized toddler who grows into a caring creature before our eyes. At the heart of the film is the power of love between a man and his best friend, but this film will stimulate many other conversations about climate change and survival. While the latter is the driving force of the film, it takes a back seat for what’s most important.
“Finch” could have easily been an ridiculous film filled with tropes and “lessons to be learned,” but that’s not the case. It’s a thoughtful and evocative film that hooks you from the beginning as we are reeled in for the finale.
You can stream “Finch” on Apple TV+ beginning Friday, November 5, 2021.
3 1/2 Stars