Finch Review

PLOT: In a post-apocalyptic future, a terminally ill scientist (Tom Hanks) creates a robot (Caleb Landry Jones) to care for his beloved dog, Goodyear, once he passes away.

REVIEW: For Finch, comparisons to Cast Away are inevitable. The films are similar in that they’re essentially one-man shows for star Tom Hanks. However, while he only had a volleyball for company in that film, he has a walking, talking, likeable robot and a really good dog to wander the post-apocalyptic future with (I prefer the original title, BIOS). Guaranteed to jerk some tears, it’s a smart pickup from Apple TV+, who bought the film from Universal a while back. Hanks is still a beloved figure, and Finch plays well for all ages.

While not up there with some of his classics, Finch is a likeable entry to Hanks’ filmography. His Finch is a friendly, sweet old scientist among the loan survivors of a solar flare that turned the ozone layer to “swiss cheese.” Humanity has gone down the drain, so Hanks hides out in a bunker with his only companion, a lovely dog named Goodyear. But, alas, years of radiation exposure has liquified Finch’s insides, and his days are numbered. To him, the only thing that matters is raising a companion for his dog, and to that end, he’s able to build a droid named Jeff, who, as the film goes on, begins to learn about humanity and love from his creator.

Their relationship forms the crux of the film. Finch is a road-trip saga to some extent, with the crew forced to go on the run from a dangerous storm, with them deciding to drive to San Francisco, where Finch hopes the radiation isn’t as harmful. The film is different from a lot of other post-apocalyptic movies in that the threat of humankind is mostly existential here. You never really see any of the survivors, and there’s little to no violence, with only a tragic flashback showing how dangerous life in such a dismal future can be.

Instead, it’s a kinder, gentler post-apocalyptic tale that’s nowhere near as grim as George Clooney’s recent The Midnight Sky. Jeff and his more diminutive robot sidekick, Dewey, are of the Star Wars/Wall-E kind in that they’re cute and lovable as they try to become human. Finch and Jeff’s quasi father/son relationship is compelling, with Hanks superb as the sometimes frustrated Finch, while Landry voices Jeff with a sense of childlike wonder.

finch review

Finch is directed by Game of Thrones helmer Miguel Sapochnik, who also made the wacky Jude Law vehicle Repo Men a decade ago. This is a much lower-key, emotional film than that blackly comic, ultra-violent outing (which I actually kind of liked back in the day). Most movies that sport a cast of one can be a bit of a test, but when that actor happens to be Tom Hanks, you’re in pretty good hands.

Certainly, the CGI is terrific, with Dewey and Jeff seeming ultra-realistic. The FX work done to animate them is impeccable. It’s also really well shot by His House/ Limitless cinematographer Jo Willems. Indeed, it certainly could have been a theatrical release had Universal/Amblin not sold it, but in the end, this should find a solid-sized audience on streaming. It’s worth checking out and might even make you cry just a little. And, really – Tom Hanks and a dog? That should be reason enough to watch right there.




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About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.