Star Rating:

Finch PG-13

Streaming On: Watch Finch on Apple TV+

Director: Miguel Sapochnik

Actors: Tom Hanks, Caleb Landry Jones

Release Date: Friday 5th November 2021

Genre(s): Drama, Sci-Fi

Running time: 115 minutes

On a post-apocalyptic earth, an inventor named Finch (Tom Hanks) has just his loyal dog for company. Finch decides to build an android named Jeff (Caleb Landry Jones) and the mismatched gang take to the road together.

‘Finch’ has very ‘The Martian’ vibes in its story and colour design. But it also feels very ‘Cast Away’ – which was really the blueprint for ‘The Martian’, so there you have it – even including an “I’m sorry, Wilson” sort of moment.

Once the dog appears on screen, one thinks “Ok, a dog and Tom Hanks? I’m so in.” But also, “don’t you dare let anything happen to that dog we remember ‘Turner and Hooch.’.” This movie is bleak enough without that.

(Speaking of bleak, did we mention, the director Miguel Sapochnik’s last credits were ‘The Long Night’ and ‘The Bells’ episodes in the last season of ‘Game of Thrones’? *pulls at collar nervously*)

There’s a bit of slapstick and some growing pains in ‘Finch’ as his new robot, his older robot Dewey, and dog struggle to cohabit. There can be some pretty CGI, but the movie is ultimately pretty dull, relying totally on the charisma and talent of Hanks and this cute dog. As far as iconic movie robots go (for which the ‘Star Wars’ series can easily claim the crown), Jeff just isn’t all that interesting or original. In fact, he’s little more than an even more annoying version of the Sonny android in ‘I, Robot’.

‘Finch’ plays with the father-son dynamic for comedy, for example, when our lead teaches Jeff how to drive. But there’s never really that strong an appeal to the character, even with his curiosity and innocence. Moreover the film itself is just boring. You keep waiting for it to take off, but it just plods along to a fizzled out finale.

Hanks is just great though, as he is in everything he does. He’ll break your heart in the film’s conclusion, and there’s this scene where he’s terrified and you feel his fear, and the actor inspires such wrought empathy. You get what ‘Finch’ is trying to do with this question of how close to life can this AI machine become. It is a common theme of science fiction generally, and isn’t presented in a particularly interesting way here.