Finch, a Sci-fi drama set in a post-apocalyptic world has an innocent plot: A dying man creates a robot to care for his dog. Sounds like a hero, right?
The story breathes through the triad ― Finch (Tom Hanks), Jeff (the Robot) and the dog. Tom Hanks is the solitary human in the Cast Away setting albeit he has Goodyear, the dog for company.
An environmental catastrophe has ravaged the Earth and Finch is perhaps the only human left. Reclusive and rough around the edges, Finch scavenges derelict malls by the day and spends his evenings building a robot. The purpose of the robot – to be a backup guardian for the dog after he’s gone. Isn’t he the best person to be around in a calamity?
At the beginning of the movie, there’s a scene where Finch and his trusted lunar rover locate a dog treat in a ransacked departmental store. The way his eyes gleam at the discovery establishes the love he has for the dog.
Goodyear, the dog
Goodyear, the dog is played by an adorable rescue named Seamus — despite the apocalypse, he is the dog next door oblivious to the dangers outside. There are no human-like traits projected onto Goodyear, he is what he is, a playful loyal dog who loves to fetch.
There’s an exchange where Finch tells Jeff about the ownership of the dog,
“He’s not my dog. He is his own dog,”
I loved how it veers away to define the bond between humans and dogs.
If you like the premise of a man and his dog in an apocalyptic world, please also check out ‘I am Legend’ and ‘A Boy and his Dog’.
Finch movie review
The director Miguel Sapochnik has an impressive resume – ‘Battle of the Bastards’ and ‘The Long Night’ from Game of Thrones. That signature of splendour is present in set pieces but it is the sublime scenes of sentimentality that his talent shines.
Though devoid of a clear and present danger – the themes of trust and companionship make this a spirited screenplay flowing like a fairytale albeit there’s a dog instead of a damsel in distress. If you are game for the slow-paced rhythm, the innocence minus the barrage of aliens, zombies, and laser guns – you may just be rewarded.
The interactions between Finch and Jeff are akin to watching a parent trying to teach his child everything he can in a short span of time. Alongside Asimov’s laws, Jeff also learns compassion, optimism and the need for human connection. There’s a touch of that nostalgic magic – Spielberg, Lucas…
The mechanics of how the robot works, what source of power he derives energy from etc aren’t delved upon. Since it is more drama than Sci-Fi, what matters more is – the journey of these characters through hardship. Also, the race against time makes for an interesting story arc that defines their dynamic.
Is Finch worth watching?
It is the kind of movie where you exactly know where the story is heading and yet you want to stay close and watch how. It is no spoiler that Finch eventually dies but the journey he takes before Goodyear begins to trust Jeff forms the emotional core of the story.
In Finch, Tom Hanks delivers yet another standout performance, bringing to life the innocence of the robot and the endearing nature of the dog. The visual effects are a pleasant surprise, expertly blending practical puppeteering with computer-generated imagery to create a convincing robot character. The soundtrack, composed by the talented Gustavo Santaolalla (The Last Of Us), augments the screenplay.
Keanu Reeves and Tom Hanks often top the fan curated lists of the nicest men in Hollywood, for all the good reasons and Finch once again affirms why.
“Finch” was originally slated for a theatrical release by Universal, but due to the pandemic, Apple TV brought the streaming rights.