Finch is entirely predictable and low stakes, but the duo of nice-guy Hanks and a cute pup musters enough pleasant earnestness to keeps things afloat.
Sometime in the future, a massive solar flare has left Earth a ruin. The sun’s rays will cook you where you stand, food and supplies are scarce, and Tom Hanks scrounges for parts and tech to build a robot to take care of his pup. Leave it to Hanks to headline the nicest post-apocalypse movie ever made. Imagine The Road but with no roving bands of cannibal rapists and instead restaged as a bittersweet bit of nicecore with a cute doggie and you’d have something close to Finch. Packed with cornball sentiment and wildly predictable, the film nevertheless clears an admittedly low bar almost exclusively due to Hanks’ amiability and endless reaction shots from his adorable co-star (Seamus).
You’ll have no questions at all about where Finch is headed straight from the start — there’s zero chance you’ll be wondering if anything might come of Hanks’ pretty bad cough. But when he finally turns on his new robot companion (eventually named Jeff and voiced by Caleb Landry-Jones), the movie turns into a sweet-natured two-hander with America’s Favorite Movie Dad teaching his Boston Dynamics-looking buddy how to walk, in addition to Asimov’s laws of robotics and the proper care and feeding of a dog. Then, an unsurvivable electromagnetic “superstorm” forces man, bot, and pooch to pack it all into an RV and hit the road. Wouldn’t you know it, the mechano-man isn’t the only one about to do some learning about life.
Almost refreshingly conflict-free, Finch sticks pretty close to the map for this sort of thing. It cribs liberally from other post-apoc efforts like The Omega Man or 28 Days Later, except it mostly takes place in sunny, brightly-lit locales. Rather than gin up suspense with scenes of our heroes evading capture from ravenous future bandits or having to rescue themselves from some gnarly booby trap, the film mostly relies on saccharine conversations about hope and forgiveness. There aren’t even any other characters present save for a brief flashback. Finch unsurprisingly comes to love his new friend, and Goodyear the dog comes to trust his new caretaker. There’s a part where they have to brave a tornado, but that’s the sole piece of jeopardy placed in their path. Director Miguel Sapochnik graduates from prestige TV with this, but it seems almost tailor-made for streaming, confined mostly as it is to either Finch’s shelter or the inside of a Winnebago, cut together with lovely but hardly distinctive drone shots of the vehicle roaming the countryside. The real heavy lifting is done by the detailed wasteland production design, some lovely American southwest vistas, and excellent robot VFX. There’s very little meat here, but it’s executed with a soothing earnestness, and in the end all that really matters is that the dog is a very good boy.
You can stream Miguel Sapochnik’s Finch on Apple TV+ beginning on November 5.