by Julian Spivey
Director: Miguel Sapochnik
Starring: Tom Hanks
Runtime: 1 hour & 55 minutes
“Finch,” directed by Miguel Sapochnik, opens in post-apocalyptic America 10 years after a solar flare finished off the ozone layer turning Earth into a mostly uninhabitable place ravaged by severe weather and the sun’s ultraviolet rays that make movement in the daytime essentially non-existent without a protective suit.
Finch, played by Oscar-winner Tom Hanks, is a scientist – something that’s helped him survive this post-apocalyptic world where the few remaining humans have turned on each other to survive. It’s not long into the film we learn that Finch is dying from an undisclosed sickness and he’s desperately trying to finish work on a robot, that eventually becomes known as Jeff, before a massive storm reaches his home of St. Louis that he’d unlikely survive. The robot is to take care of his beloved dog Goodyear, though he’s simply called dog for much of the movie because who needs names in a post-apocalyptic world, when Finch dies. Finch is trying to get Jeff and Goodyear to San Francisco, where there’s hope of a better life (though it’s truly unknown) and to teach Jeff how to care for Goodyear before his passes on.
“Finch,” which is only Sapochnik’s second directorial effort and his first in more than a decade, is a simple film. Hanks is the only cast and he’s playing off a CGI robot (voiced by Caleb Landry Jones) and a dog (played by Seamus) and he has this simple goal of teaching the robot to care for the dog. Few actors could pull off such a performance, but it’s no surprise Hanks does so with aplomb. He’s the best his generation has had, after all.
One thing I really took from “Finch” is the lengths a man would go to to take care of his dog and make sure it’s cared for after it’s human is gone. Most of us don’t have the means necessary to build a robot for our pets, but I’m sure we’d all do so if possible. I didn’t need any extra reason to understand why Finch would want to go to such lengths for his dog, but the film gives us a tragic scene to show us that Goodyear truly is more to Finch than just a companion in a world without companionship.
“Finch” is a charming film but be warned it’ll make you teary-eyed (you pretty much realize it’s going to from the start, but don’t worry the dog survives). It’s not the type of film you’re going to hear about come awards season, but it makes for a lovely and breezy almost two-hour watch. “Finch,” which was written by Craig Luck and Ivor Powell, can be seen on AppleTV+.