Finch is small-stakes post-apocalyptic sci-fi that feels accessible to any age thanks to its age-old formula layered with simplicity. Tom Hanks delivers yet another powerhouse performance (probably my favorite from him since 2012’s Cloud Atlas), this time as a simple man named Finch—a genius robot engineer stranded in a desolate post-apocalyptic world. The visual effects are seamless, bringing to life a robot, Finch’s new creation. Jeff, the robot who is voiced by Caleb Landry Jones, is built with the pure purpose of caring for Finch’s adorable dog, Goodyear. The heart of the film deals with Finch teaching Jeff how to live a ‘normal’ life, navigating the day-to-day of the post-apocalypse, and growing an artificial-life conscience along the way…
Who doesn’t want to see Tom Hanks scavenging with a robot? Toss in a cute small dog, and Finch becomes a must-watch streaming delight. Donned in a suit that detects radiation, Finch emerges from an underground bunker for the first time in a decade with renewed purpose. In spite of his growing collection of books (including the classic The Little Prince) and vinyls to keep him company, Finch’s lonely existence is made whole thanks to the love of his dog, Goodyear. By keeping the drama strictly about the survival and relationship between Jeff, Goodyear, and Finch, the script from Craig Luck and Ivor Powell favors character over all else. A deadly storm headed their way circles overhead, only one of the many dangers that confronts the group on their journey. Their final destination remains to be seen; as Finch’s health hangs in the balance, he must do whatever it takes to prepare Jeff for existence long after his creator’s end.
There is often a dark edge to the lessons that Finch teaches Jeff. In one instance, he insists to “trust no one” and that everything around them is predictable “except for people.” Finch’s occasional cynicism is balanced out by the positivity in finding beauty in their crumbling surroundings. Jeff is filled with data, but no numbers or descriptions can equal genuine experience. When Finch notes the ravaged ozone layer by pointing up at the sky and stating, “up there it’s like Swiss cheese,” Jeff adorably stops to search for “the cheese.” As Jeff begins to fill his robo-mind with humor, personality, and experience to call his own, Finch forms into a cohesive little drama that only gets better as it goes along.
At a certain point, I began losing track of how many different life lessons that Finch was trying to teach. As a result, it often feels pulled in ten different directions. However, in the latter half this is used to pack on the maximum level of emotional impact. The final act of Finch is strongest, paying off several of its themes with meaningful fireworks. It resonates with truth and philosophical ideas about life and love. Never delving into over-explanation, Finch takes a narrow approach to the past by placing emphasis on a promising future teeming with possibilities and hope. There is an almost fairytale-like quality to the narrative. Once upon a time, one sci-fi flick came to Apple TV+, proving that robots can be emotive and rich with a humanity all their own.
Finch buzzes to life when it premieres exclusively to Apple TV+ on Friday, November 5th.