Delayed almost two years thanks to COVID and eventually sold to Apple, Finch is the story of Tom Hanks trying to survive the irradiated post-apocalypse with a dog and a robot. That’s the pitch and that’s actually about the extent of the movie. Tom Hanks plays a man dying from UV exposure and trying to create a provider for his beloved dog, who itself has a sad back-story. It’s a simple story but the movie succeeds on the detail of its world-building and the sincerity of Hanks and Caleb Landry Jones (Get Out) in a mo-cap performance as the nascent robotic helper who names himself “Jeff.” It’s a post-apocalyptic buddy film, a road trip movie, and a survival thriller against the new reality of supercharged weather elements and the threat other people can present. The set pieces are effectively developed and open up Finch as a character. Almost after every big moment we have a quiet one where Finch uncorks a monologue that explains more about his own tragic past, the tragic events that left much of Earth to be highly irradiated, or the relationship he had with his own absentee father. Hanks is nicely vulnerable and warmly paternal as a man teaching a robot how to be human in the pursuit of caring for others. This could have been a post-apocalyptic one-man show, a Cast Away meets I Am Legend, but Jones is an enjoyable foil as the clumsy robot who is trying to make his creator proud. The robot design is very minimal but Jones is able to find small ways to communicate the childlike emotions of the character. The movie doesn’t have any devastating moments of suspense, terror, or meaty character drama. It coasts on a pleasant and gentle spirit with a touch of melancholy but Finch mostly keeps things in a relatively heart-warming territory. Finch isn’t much more than its initial pitch, but I’m happy to spend two hours with Tom Hanks trying to teach a robot how to be nice and brave in order to save a dog (spoiler alert: the dog lives too).
Nate’s Grade: B